Posted by Bryan Fischer
Although there had been a few rumors that he would return to school, USC left tackle Matt Kalil will forgo his senior season and apply for the NFL Draft. ESPN's Chris Mortensen first tweeted the news that Kalil would be leaving.
"It was definitely a tough decision because I love SC," Kalil told the LA Times. "But it’s a special opportunity. It’s time to move on."
Kalil did not allow a sack this past season and was one of the rocks for an offensive line that allowed the lowest sack total in the country. The 6-foot-7, 295-pounder also blocked four kicks on special teams when he wasn't protecting quarterback Matt Barkley's blind side.
Depending on who else declares for the NFL draft, Kalil is currently ranked as the third overall prospect in the 2012 CBSSports.com NFL draft rankings - behind underclass quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Barkley.
ESPNLA.com reported later that Kalil is expected to sign with agent Tom Condon of CAA Sports. Condon is a well-regarded agent who also represents Kalil's brother, Ryan, who recently signed a $49 million extension that made him the highest paid center in the league. The elder Kalil was a second round pick out of USC in 2007.
The winner of the Morris Trophy given to the Pac-12 best offensive lineman, Kalil will be tough for the Trojans to replace given limited depth at the position.
It is unclear whether Kalil's decision will have an effect on Barkley's decision to turn pro as well. The two are close friends and the left tackle previously said the two would either stay at USC together or leave for the NFL together.
Barkley has until January 15th to declare for the draft and has applied for an evaluation and met with coaches.
For more on Kalil's decision and the latest NFL Draft news, jump on over to the Eye on Football blog.