After three seasons at the University of Georgia, linebacker Leonard Floyd declared for the 2016 NFL draft Thursday.
The announcement was made official through a press release on GeorgiaDogs.com.
The Eastman, Georgia, native registered a personal-best 74 tackles in 2015 to go along with 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. He leaves the Bulldogs with 17 career sacks.
Upon the announcement of Floyd's decision, Georgia assistant coach Kevin Sherrer discussed how important the linebacker was to the program in recent years, per the release.
"Leonard will be missed not just by the Dawg Nation, but by me, his teammates and the rest of the 'Wolfpack,'" Sherrer said. "We grew close over the past couple of years. I know he will be very successful in his football career."
While Floyd's departure didn't become official until Thursday, he made it fairly clear that he intended to enter the draft after the school fired head coach Mark Richt, according to Justin Felder of Fox 5:
Justin Felder @Justin_FOX5
#UGA jr LB Leonard Floyd leaving early for NFL Draft per school. Yelled he was leaving out car window to media folks night Richt was let go.2016-1-7 14:08:19
Even though the Bulldogs brought in a defensive guru as their new head coach in the form of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, it is difficult to argue with Floyd's decision to leave since Michael Detillier of WWL-870 is among those who consider him a first-round prospect:
Michael Detillier @MikeDetillier
UGA OLB Leonard Floyd is headed to 2016 NFL Draft. Excellent length, closing speed & edge skills. 20's pick in 1st https://t.co/iBWs0nglcM2016-1-2 22:53:07
Edge-rushers are extremely valuable commodities in the NFL due to the high volume of passing that has taken over the league, and Floyd looks to be one of the best the 2016 class has to offer.
While his sack numbers don't necessarily jump off the page in comparison to some of his peers, Floyd has an opportunity to be a nightmare for quarterbacks in the right scheme at the NFL level.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.