Philon Headed to NFL, Chaney Out

Darius Philon announces his decision to skip his final two years at Arkansas to declare for the NFL draft, while Bret Bielema confirmed that Jim Chaney has resigned as offensive coordinator to take a similar job at Pitt.

Arkansas defensive tackle Darius Philon is expected to forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.

Philon indicated he will enter the draft in a post on his Instagram page Tuesday. An attempt to reach Philon for further comment was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema confirmed what had been speculated for two days that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney had resigned to take a similar job at Pitt. Chaney had been the OC for the last two years at Arkansas.

"Jim Chaney has resigned from our staff and I want to thank Jim for his two seasons at the University of Arkansas," Bielema said. "We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

"We have started the process to take a bigger and brighter step forward in our program. As a head coach, I have witnessed many positive events that happen with modified transition. We will find the correct fit for our returning players and coaches eager for the 2015 campaign. Once again, I am not surprised by coaches pursuing the chance to be a part of something here at Arkansas that has never been done."

Concerning Philon's decision, Bielema wished the big tackle well.

"We are disappointed that Darius will no longer be part of our football program but very excited about the opportunities ahead of him. It was a privilege to get to know Darius and his family over the past two years. He is a very young and blessed athlete and we wish him nothing but success in life's path he has chosen."

Philon sent an on-line thank you to the Hogs.

"I want to say I have had a great journey here in the state of Arkansas," Philon wrote on Instagram. "I feel that I have matured enough to pursue my dreams on to the next level. I know there will be some obstacles that I will have to endure but I feel the University of Arkansas has prepared me well."

Philon recorded 46 tackles, including 11.5 for loss in 2014. He also recorded 4.5 sacks and recovered three fumbles, returning one for a touchdown against Northern Illinois.

SEC coaches voted Philon to the league's all-freshman team in 2013. He started the final 18 games of his career.

Arkansas coaches tried to convince Philon to return for another season. Head coach Bret Bielema traveled to Mobile, Alabama, for an in-home visit with Philon and his family earlier this month.

"We've given him a lot of information and been able to let him process through that, and I think Darius kind of goes through things at his own pace," Bielema said last Monday. "The thing about Darius, he has an incredible future in front of him."

Philon is expected to be the only Razorbacks underclassmen who will enter this year's draft. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Thursday.

Philon was one of three Arkansas players to submit paperwork to the draft's advisory board for underclassmen last month. Running back Jonathan Williams said he will return to the Razorbacks, while receiver Keon Hatcher is also expected to return for his senior season.

With Philon's departure, Arkansas will have to replace three of its leading defensive players from a unit that ranked 10th nationally in yards allowed. Senior all-SEC selections Martrell Spaight and Trey Flowers are also expected to be drafted.

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