Utah Defensive End Paul Kruger NFL-Bound

JeremySenior Writer IJanuary 12, 2009

Paul Kruger, a redshirt sophomore star defensive end announced late last night he has declared for the NFL draft. Kruger was a star all year long in Utah’s Sugar Bowl run. For the season he had 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

While only a redshirt sophomore, Kruger is more mature than others in the same year. At the age of 24, he went on a church mission for two years, but when he came back after the layoff he was much improved.

His age, I feel is a small part of why he left early. What else does he have to prove at this level? There are other reports saying Ute defensive back Sean Smith is going to declare as well. Below, is Kruger’s offical statement about turning pro:

"This past year I have been honored to be a part of this very special group of teammates and coaches at the UNIVERSITY of UTAH.  I have cherished what has been my amazing college experience.  Finishing this 2008 football season undefeated and having the privilege to get to play under someone as special as coach Kyle Whittingham has been a lifelong dream fulfilled.   Now it is my journey to pursue another lifelong dream which is to become a professional football player in the National Football League.

This decision is one of the toughest that I have ever had to make. As I reflect on the UNIVERSITY of UTAH, my teammates, all of my coaches, the football staff and most importantly the UTES fans I am filled with humility and deep gratitude. These past years at UTAH have been a tremendous learning and growing experience for me.  I want to thank everyone at the University and all the UTES everywhere for their support.

It is my hope in making this decision that the fans, coaches, teammates, and the UTAH athletic department will continue to support me and my family as I take this next step in attaining my goals."

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My heart belongs to UTAH. And I wish continued prosperity and success to my UTAH UTES!