Britt will enter NFL Draft

Rutgers wide receiver Kenny Britt announced on Jan. 3 that he is leaving Rutgers for the National Football League, surprising no one. One year after Rutgers lost its best running back early to the pro ranks, its best receiver is on his way to Sunday football.

At a press conference at the Hale Center, Britt declared his intention to enter the NFL draft in April and will forgo his senior year of eligibility on the Banks. Britt joins Ray Rice, the former Rutgers standout running back who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens, as the second junior in as many years to jump from RU to the pro ranks.

"I want to thank my coaches, especially coach (Greg) Schiano - not only a fan of mine, a big help for me," said Britt during his press conference during a long list of thank-yous that included his high school coach, Ricky Rodriguez.

Britt said he sat down with his family and Schiano for a couple of hours to discuss the pros and cons of coming out early before coming to his decision. Britt leaves Rutgers as its all-time leader in career receiving yards (3,043), single season receiving yards (1,371 this year), single season receptions (87), consecutive 100-yard games receiving (5) and career 100-yard games (14). He tied Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald for the all-time Big East mark in 100-yard games and is the all-time conference leader in career receiving yards.

"This was a gateway . . . and I wanted to take my chances and leave," said Britt, who noted that his fellow underclassmen asked him to stay one more year at Rutgers.

While Britt's decision leaves Rutgers without a first-team All-Big East performer at receiver, it's not necessarily a bad thing for a program that is still trying to gain legitimacy. Just about everyone who ever plays the game of football has aspirations of making it to the NFL, and Rutgers is building a track record in that regard. Over the last two years, three players from Rutgers have been selected within the first three rounds, and 15 former Scarlet Knights were on active NFL rosters by the end of this season (seven were starters for at least one point in the season).

Britt, the jewel of RU's 2006 recruiting class, is one of those players that turned out as good as initially projected. A three-star rated receiver coming out of Bayonne High School, the 6-3, 215-pound Britt came into his own late during his freshman season and exploded the last two years.

He did not register a catch through the first seven games of his college career before grabbing 29 catches for 440 yards and two touchdowns. Britt really started to make a name for himself during his initial collegiate campaign in a three-game stretch against Cincinnati, Syracuse and West Virginia when he hauled in 23 grabs for 304 yards and a score – including 10 catches for 119 yards in a 41-39 double-overtime loss at West Virginia that Dec. 2nd. He was named RU's most valuable offensive player as well as second-team All-Big East and was 17th nationally in yards per game (94.7).

Britt paired with Tiquan Underwood in 2007 to become the first pair of Rutgers receivers to register 1,000 yards, each, in a season. He had 62 catches for 1,232 yards and eight TDs. This year Britt was second in the nation behind Brigham Young's Austin Collie with 114.3 receiving yards per game. In eight of 12 starts this season, Britt registered at least 100 yards receiving – including 119 yards and one touchdown in the 29-23 victory over North Carolina State in the Bowl held on Dec. 29th. His 17 total receiving TDs ties him with Chris Brantley on the all-time list at RU.

"Every year I've been here I got better," said Britt, deflecting the thought that he was as good as he could be at Rutgers. "I know if I had another year to be here, it would raise my game a level."

Britt is in a class of juniors that faces a potentially unique situation. Rumors abound that the NFL is considering a salary cap for rookies that may go into effect in 2010, though no definitive decision has been made. That would limit the money-making potential of players like Britt, who may be a first-day pick in April. For his part, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the current system would remain in place until at least 2011.

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