EAST LANSING - Michigan State star junior forward Justin Abdelkader and sophomore foward Mike Ratchuk have decided to forego their final years of college eligibility to jump to the NFL.
Ratchuk's departure was surprising because he gave up two years of eligibility to sign with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.
"It was really a very tough decision to leave," said Ratchuk. "Michigan State has been nothing but a positive experience for me, and I have to thank Coach Comley and the rest of the MSU staff for giving me this great opportunity."
The sophomore defenseman notched six goals and 19 assists, but helped the Spartans to a stingy 2.26 goals per game average.
Abdelkader gave up his senior season to sign with the Detroit Red Wings and was eligible for last night's contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"We're very happy for Justin," said Michigan State head coach Rick Comley. "Obviously, this is one of those situations where we're thrilled for a player who has meant so much to our program and helped us achieve a tremendous amount of success; on the other hand, we're disappointed that he won't be back for his senior year.
"He has meant a tremendous amount to our program, and we look forward to watching his success as a professional athlete," said Comley.
"It's an amazing feeling to realize my dream of being a Red Wing, and I would like to thank the Detroit organization," said Abdelkader.
"On the flip side, its difficult to leave Michigan State. My three years there were the best of my life, and not only from a hockey standpoint. I'm proud that we were able to win a National Championship, and was thrilled to have the opportunities that were given to me not only by the coaching staff, but also within the University. I want to thank everyone who has been incredibly supportive of me over the last three years."
The move does open two more scholarships for Comley who has a solid recruiting class a season ago and hopes to duplicate the feat this offseason.
Abdelkader, Ratchuk Join Exodus from MSU
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