Will Fuller has caught his last touchdown at Notre Dame.
Barely 48 hours ago the junior receiver put an 81-yard score on Ohio State, the longest play allowed by the Buckeyes all year. After the game Fuller said he was unsure about his next step, weighing a return to South Bend for his senior year against declaring for the NFL Draft.
Now Notre Dame has its answer.
Fuller turned pro on Sunday afternoon.
“My heart truly wanted to return to Notre Dame, but it has also been my lifelong dream to play to play football in the NFL,” Fuller said in a statement. “After taking all of this into lengthy consideration, I believe it is in my best interest to forgo my senior season and enter the 2016 draft.”
Fuller said he would eventually earn his degree. He completed his fifth semester at the University last month.
The Philadelphia native finishes his Irish career with 144 catches, 2,512 yards and 30 touchdowns. His 15 touchdowns each of the past two seasons are single-season records at Notre Dame, shared by Golden Tate, Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight.
Fuller’s departure means Notre Dame loses all three starting receivers off this year’s roster, turning the page to Corey Robinson, Corey Holmes, Torii Hunter Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, C.J. Sanders and Miles Boykin at the position. All were role players this fall, although Robinson and Hunter caught touchdown passes from DeShone Kizer.
Fuller was one of five Notre Dame players to ask for NFL Draft feedback following the season, joined by C.J. Prosise, Jaylon Smith, KeiVarae Russell and Ronnie Stanley. Prosise and Stanley have already declared for the draft and it would be a surprise if Smith and Russell didn’t ultimately do the same.
Less than two months ago Fuller said he’d return for his senior year, although he quickly softened that stance – as did head coach Brian Kelly – after making it. Fuller had been consistent during bowl prep that he’d make a final decision after the Fiesta Bowl.
The wide out admitted he’d received his NFL Draft feedback in December but declined to reveal it, although he said the evaluation did not surprise him.
Within most NFL mock drafts Fuller projects as a late first round or second round pick.