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ASU Football: Jaelen Strong set to enter 2015 NFL Draft

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Like most expected, Jaelen Strong is leaving ASU a year early for the NFL.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong will forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL Draft, according to a statement released by ASU officials Monday afternoon. Strong recorded 72 catches for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, and was named First Team All-Pac-12 last month.

"This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life," said Strong in a statement. "I've spoken to my family and we feel it is best for me to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft."

Strong broke onto the college football scene in 2013 when he caught 75 passes for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season as a Sun Devil. In 2014, he was named a Biletnikoff semifinalist, the award given annually to the nation's top receiver.

It has been the expectation that Strong would enter the 2015 draft, however he was expected to announces his decision after the 2014 Sun Bowl.

Strong missed ASU's victory over Washington State with a concussion and suffered a shoulder injury against Arizona and  causing him to be limited in ASU's first bowl practices.

"First I would like to thank Coach Graham and the staff for believing in me from day one," said Strong. "I'd like to thank the Sun Devil Nation, the fans, and all of the people who work behind the scenes that I encounter everyday that have been like a family to me.

"Most importantly, I would like to thank my teammates, my brothers, for having my back through thick and thin. Finally, I'd like to thank Jean Boyd and his academic staff for their dedication to Sun Devil Football. My two years at Arizona State University have produced the best experiences of my life."

Strong is expected to be drafted inside the first two rounds come April. ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay had Strong going No. 19 overall to the Cleveland Browns in his first 2015 mock draft. A few weeks ago, Mel Kiper Jr. told reporters he has Strong as a second round pick as of now.

Strong has a chance to be ASU's first player to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft since Terrell Suggs went No. 10 overall in 2003.