Indiana running Jordan Howard will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, the program announced in a release Monday morning.
"After much thought and prayer, I have decided to forego my final year of eligiblity to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL," Howard said in a statement.
Despite missing 22 quarters of game action due to injury this season, Howard still managed to earn first team All-Big Ten recognition behind 1,213 rushing yards with nine rushing touchdowns and 10 total touchdowns. Howard had his knee scoped during the week leading up to IU's final regular season game at Purdue and did not play in last Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl.
Of the more than 1,200 rushing yards on the season, his efforts against Michigan and Iowa stood - two of the top defenses in the Big Ten this season - stood out.
Against the Wolverines, he carried the ball 36 times for a season-high 238 yards, the second-most ever by a Michigan opponent. He finished with 22 carries for 174 yards and two rushing touchdowns against a Hawkeye defense which had allowed only 85.8 yards per game and just one rushing touchdown entering that game.
Howard closed out his career with 17 100+ yard rushing games, and 12 150+ yard rushing games. In his lone season in Bloomington, he had six 100-yard rushing games, five 150-yard rushing games (tied for fourth nationally) and two 200-yard rushing games (tied for fifth nationally).
"My success to date would not have been possible without God and the support of family and countless people," Howard said in the statement. "I'd like to thank my parents, Dr. Reginald Howard (deceased) and Flora Williams for their unyielding and unwavering support over the years. My sincerest thanks to all of my ocaches and teammates at Indiana Univeristy and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. I would like to personally thank former UAB coach Garrick McGee for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.
"Coach Kevin Wilson, thank you for allowing me to be a part of a great football family. Coach Deland McCullough, thank you for coaching and pushing me to realize my true potential. Coach Mark Hill, thank you for inspiring me to work harder at strength and conditioning."
Dating back to 2013 - Howard's first college football season and freshman year at UAB - Howard's 12 150-yard rushing games rank first nationally among active running backs. This season, he became the 11th Hoosier to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
"To my IU family, I could have never imagined receiving the love and support that you all have shown me since my arrival on campus. A special thanks to the training staff, Christa Sist and IU academics," Howard said. "Today, because of the prayers, love and support of so many people, I'm one step closer to making my NFL dream a reality! God bless and Go Hoosiers!"