Ngata to enter NFL Draft

EUGENE – University of Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has announced his intentions to forgo his senior year of eligibility in order to enter the National Football League draft.

The 6-5, 338-pound Salt Lake City, Utah, standout became the Ducks' first consensus All-American in 43 years while finishing the 2005 season sixth on the team in tackles with 61 stops (32 unassisted). In addition, the Pacific-10 Conference's co-defensive player of the year was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy (awarded to the nation's top interior lineman) and one of five final nominees for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (the nation's outstanding defensive player).

Ngata was credited with a career-high 11 tackles in this year's 27-20 overtime win over California and established a school record with seven blocked kicks during his three-year collegiate tenure. He tallied tackles for losses in nine of Oregon's 12 games this season (9-37 yards) while pacing a defense which led the Pac-10 in total defense (357.7 avg.) and rose from seventh to third in the league in scoring defense (23.2 avg.).

He becomes Oregon's fifth player ever to leave school early to enter the NFL draft, joining defensive back Kenny Wheaton (1997), running back Onterrio Smith (2003), tight end George Wrighster (2003) and defensive tackle Igor Olshansky (2004).

Oregon finished the 2005 season with a 10-2 record and ranked 12th in the country following its 17-14 setback to Oklahoma in the Holiday Bowl.

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