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SALT LAKE CITY — Tight end Jake Murphy announced Friday his decision to declare for the NFL draft, choosing to forego his senior season with the University of Utah.
"After a lot of heartfelt thought and consideration, I have decided to forego my senior year at the University of Utah and enter the NFL draft this spring," Murphy said in a statement. "This has been a really tough decision for me to make and one that I do not take lightly."
Murphy said his decision came down to providing for his family.
"In the end, I had to make the choice that was best for my family — my wife and my daughter," he said. "Although I will miss playing college football, I am very confident in my abilities and ready to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL."
Although his stats don't show necessarily show his impact on the team, Murphy was a valuable asset and leader on the team — one that Utah missed after Murphy was sidelined because of a broken wrist during the UCLA game.
In the end, I had to make the choice that was best for my family — my wife and my daughter. Although I will miss playing college football, I am very confident in my abilities and ready to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL.
"We will miss Jake not only for his playing ability, but for his leadership," head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. "We respect the thought process he and his family put into this decision and wish him the best in his pursuit of an NFL career."
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Murphy said he hadn't made up his mind about declaring for the draft. He said he would talk to Whittingham to decide what would be best for his career.
In November, Whittingham said he would support Murphy in his decision if he chose to enter the NFL draft, but said there wasn't "a big body of work" for Murphy to display because of his injury.
"We want what's best for Jake," Whittingham said following the Colorado game. "If weighing all the facts and it's time to move on then that's the advice I will give. I know this year didn't go how he wanted because of the injury."
Murphy played in eight games in the 2013 season, catching 25 passes for 417 yards and five touchdowns.
"I am so grateful for the time I have spent here and the many people who have supported me both on and off the field," Murphy said. "I am grateful to coach Whittingham and his staff for all they have done for me, as well as all of my teammates.
"I will watch their future success with much excitement and pride," Murphy continued. "No matter where life take me, I will always feel privileged to be a part of this great Ute family."