Lemonier To Enter NFL Draft

The junior defensive end plans to bypass his senior season to play professional football.

Auburn, Ala--Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier has opted to enter the 2012 National Football League Draft and will not return for his senior season with the Tigers.

"This was a very difficult decision for me," Lemonier said. "I prayed a lot and felt this was the best for me to pursue this opportunity. I loved every minute of my time at Auburn and I'm very appreciative of my teammates, coaches and the entire Auburn family. It is sad to leave such a special place like Auburn, but ultimately I made a decision that was best for me and my family."

Gus Malzahn said that Lemonier informed him of his decision and he wishes the defensive player the best of luck in the NFL.

"We appreciate Corey's many contributions to the Auburn football program, both on and off the field, during his three years," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. "Corey is a class act and we wish him nothing but the best as he pursues his dream to play professional football."

The six-foot-four, 250-pounder from Hialeah, Fla., High School earned Freshman All-SEC honors in 2010 as he made 17 tackles with five stops for lost yardage. He made two sacks and a forced fumble for the national champions.

As a sophomore he broke into the starting lineup and finished sixth on the team in tackles with 47. He led the Tigers with 9 1/2 sacks and in quarterback hurries with 15. His 13 1/2 tackles for lost yardage was also a team high.

Lemonier was named the team's Most Valuable Player on defense in 2011.

Corey Lemonier was a preseason All-SEC selection prior to his junior year, but neither nor his Tigers put up numbers to match the previous season.

Going into his junior year he was on the watch list for the Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi and Ted Hendricks awards.

This past season he finished seventh on the team in total tackles with 34 in a tie with Dee Ford. Lemonier led the Tigers in quarterback hurries and was second in sacks with 5 1/2 behind Ford's six. He was selected to the SEC Coaches All-SEC second team.

His high school coach, Marc Berman, said he spoke to his former star recently and said that Lemonier was waiting for his NFL Draft evaluation before making a decision.

"I think Corey will test very well at the NFL Combine with his speed and athleticism," the coach said.

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