Oklahoma's defensive line will be without one of its best players in 2012. Defensive end Ronnell Lewis announced on Thursday that he would forego his senior season at Oklahoma and enter the NFL Draft.
"After meeting with my family and coaches and gathering input from various resources, including the NFL, I’ve carefully weighed my options and have decided to forego my senior year at OU and enter the 2012 NFL Draft," said Lewis in a release. "My time at OU has produced many fond memories and I hope to keep close ties with my friends, teammates, coaches, football staff and everyone at OU who has helped me along the way. I’d like to personally thank the University of Oklahoma and Coach Stoops for giving me the opportunity to be a Sooner and play on Saturdays in front of the best fans in the country. Without the support of my coaches, my family and so many others, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ll definitely miss my time in Norman, but I’m looking forward to what the future holds. Boomer Sooner!"
“Ronnell leaves with our best wishes," said Bob Stoops. "He managed several challenges while playing here, but always worked hard and gave us his very best effort. He has the skill to be a successful NFL player and we feel he’ll do well there. As with any of our players who reach for the top level, he won’t have any bigger fans than those of us at OU.”
Stoops may wish Lewis well in the NFL, but his departure means that Oklahoma will be without both of its starting defensive ends next season, as Frank Alexander will graduate this spring.
CBSSports.com's Rob Rang has Lewis marked as an outside linebacker in the NFL, and he's ranked sixth among all outside linebacker prospects in the 2012 draft class.
Lewis had 60 tackles for the Sooners in 2011, including 13 for loss and 5.5 sacks.
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