Stanford offensive guard David Yankey will forego his final year of college football eligibility to enter the 2014 NFL draft.
Stanford Football announced the news on Twitter on Monday, Jan. 13:
Yankey is considered by many to be one of the top offensive linemen in the 2014 NFL draft class.
He earned unanimous All-American honors in 2013 for his fine play and was a consensus All-American in 2012 as a left tackle, according to the school's website, which also provided this quote from its star guard:
I reached my decision following conversations with family and coaches, and am greatly looking forward to the next chapter in life. The decision was not easy. I have loved my time at Stanford and am a proud member of Nerd Nation. I am humbled at the prospect of joining a long list of Stanford alumni currently playing in the NFL.
I want to thank everyone at Stanford for their unwavering support throughout my four years. Coming here was an incredible opportunity and everyone on campus - from professors and coaches to support staff and fans - have demonstrated why this place is so special.
Yankey's versatility will be a tremendous boon for him during the scouting process. NFL teams love players who can play multiple positions, and he proved quite capable of holding his own at left tackle during the 2012 season.
However, the biggest reason Yankey could be taken off the board early on draft day is his ability to create running lanes from his guard spot. He helped Stanford's offense rush for 207.4 yards per game (No. 22 in the nation), while allowing just 1.14 sacks per game (No. 11).
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller believes he'll be the first interior lineman taken in the draft:
At 6'5" and 311 pounds, the Australian-born guard has prototypical size for a left guard in the NFL, but he moves like a much smaller man in space.
Combined with a nasty, physical style of play, he's an excellent prospect who will likely be selected in the latter half of the first round or early in the second.
Teams that could be interested in his services include the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts—all of which struggled to run the ball in 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78