CHAPEL HILL, ORANGE COUNTY - This is a news release from the University of North Carolina:
North Carolina junior tight end Eric Ebron has elected to forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL Draft following UNC's bowl game. A native of Greensboro, N.C., Ebron leads the Tar Heels with 50 receptions for 774 yards and has three touchdowns.
"I've had a great time in Chapel Hill and I appreciate everything Coach Fedora and the coaching staff has done for me," said Ebron. "Coming to Carolina allowed me to develop as both a person and a football player. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I look forward to finishing the season with my teammates and then moving on to the next level."
Ebron holds the UNC single-season and career records for catches and receiving yards by a tight end. Entering Saturday's regular-season finale vs. Duke, he has 100 career catches for 1,606 yards.
Ebron is ranked as the No. 12 overall player on ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper's Big Board. He is ranked No. 14 by ESPN's Todd McShay. Both analysts have him as the top tight end in the country.
Ebron is a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, which is presented to the nation's top tight end. He had his best game of the season in Carolina's ESPN Thursday night loss to Miami when he hauled in a career-high eight catches for a career-high 199 yards. He was named the Mackey Award national tight end of the week and his 199 yards are a single-game UNC record for receiving yards by a tight end and the sixth-most by any Carolina player.
Larry Fedora, Head Coach
"Eric has decided to forgo his senior season so this will be his last home game as a Tar Heel football player. I'm proud of what Eric has accomplished and how he as represented the University of North Carolina. We are excited for him and his future. This is a good decision by him and his family and I fully support him. We are sad to see him go but are also excited for his future."
"I think part of [announcing this now] is he knows this is going to be his last home game and he would like to go through the process that the seniors do where we acknowledge the seniors for their last home game. I'd love for him and his family to be a part of that. So we really wanted to make that announcement today so we could get it over with and out of the way."