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Provo » Calling it the "toughest decision I have ever had to make, because I love it here and I love BYU," junior receiver Austin Collie confirmed Friday morning that he will forgo his senior season with the Cougars and enter April's NFL draft.
"It is a choice I feel comfortable making," said Collie, the all-time leading receiver in BYU history. "I am ready for the next challenge."
At a news conference attended by BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and athletic director Tom Holmoe, Collie declined to speculate on whether he will be drafted or not, or which round he might go in. He also said a report from an NFL advisory committee regarding his draft prospects was private and "will be kept between me, my family and coach Mendenhall."
Collie finishes his three-year college career as the BYU record-holder in every major receiving category, including career receiving yards (3,255), career touchdown catches (30) and career receptions (215).
Mendenhall said Collie will be "very difficult to replace" and noted that there isn't one single player who can do it.
"It's an emotional day for all of us, but also a day to celebrate what Austin has done at BYU," Mendenhall said.
Collie said the BYU coach never told him what to do, but "obviously, he wanted me to stay."
Collie had enrolled in classes for BYU's winter semester, but said he has withdrawn from school so he can concentrate on training for the draft, either in Southern California or Provo.
He said he is about a year and a half away from graduating in communications, and vowed that he would return and get his degree.