Add junior safety DeShon Elliott to the list.
The Jim Thorpe Award finalist, awarded to the nation’s best defensive back each year, will forgo his senior year and plans to declare for the NFL Draft, Texas announced Thursday afternoon. Elliott will also skip Texas’ bowl game to begin preparations for his professional career immediately.
“It was a very difficult decision that I put a lot of thought into,” Elliott said in a statement. “I want to thank my coaches and teammates for the support and all they’ve done to make an impact on my life. I really appreciate Coach Strong giving me the opportunity to play and grow as a player and person at Texas. Coach Herman has been amazing, and I’m really excited about what he’s building here. I know that Longhorn football is in good hands.”
The end of the regular season concludes what was a breakout season for the junior safety. Elliott got off to a hot start at the beginning of the season, recording two interceptions against then-No. 4 USC and even returning one for a touchdown.
Elliott picked two passes off the following week against Iowa State as well, making him the first player with two interceptions in back-to-back games since 1947. Elliott finished the season with six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and 63 tackles.
Now, one week after the conclusion of the regular season, Elliott said his farewell to the Longhorn faithful.
“To the awesome Longhorn fans, you have made every game in DKR an experience like no other, and for that, I thank you,” Elliott said. “And most of all, thank you to my parents for molding me into the athlete and person I am today. I couldn’t have done it without you. I am excited about the future but will forever be a Longhorn.”
Elliott is now the second Longhorn to forgo his senior season and Texas’ bowl game in order to declare for the NFL Draft. Junior left tackle Connor Williams announced his departure on Monday afternoon. This news also comes after junior running back Chris Warren III announced that he will transfer from Texas.
Linebacker Malik Jefferson has not announced his plans regarding the NFL. Texas continues to play the waiting game with the junior, a possible first-round pick in April’s draft.
For Elliott, the junior safety won’t be on the field for Texas’ final game of the season. He will represent the burnt orange for the final time when the Thorpe Award is presented at The Home Depot College Football Awards. The ceremony in Atlanta will take place on Thursday, Dec. 2.