John F. SilverEAST HARTFORD, Conn. — UConn junior linebacker Yawin Smallwood said on Saturday after UConn’s season-ending 45-10 win over Memphis that he will leave school early and put his name into the NFL Draft, foregoing his final year of eligibility.
“I will go ahead and enter the NFL Draft,” Smallwood said. “It’s for real. I am happy and a dream come true. This is when the work starts. It’s a job now and I have to become the best football player I can be.”
Smallwood had seven tackles and two sacks in his final game playing for UConn. He finished the season with 118 tackles, four sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. In his three-year career Smallwood finished with 332 tackles.
Smallwood has been highly-sought after as an NFL prospect with many mock draft having him as a second or third round selection. He becomes the third UConn player to declare early for the draft.
RB Donald Brown was a first round pick of the Colts and RB Jordan Todman was a sixth round pick of the Chargers.
Smallwood told LBs coach Jon Wholley before the game and told his teammates in the locker room after. Smallwood has sought advice from his former teammate in Sio Moore.
He plans on working out in Florida for the NFL Draft combine and will begin a search for an agent.