Two-time All-American Leonard Williams will declare for the 2015 NFL Draft, foregoing his senior season and certainly setting himself up to be the first non-quarterback taken off the board.
The move comes as little surprise, but the entire process speaks to his love for USC and the difficulties that come with leaving school early. In a statement released by the USC athletic department on Monday, Williams expressed his appreciation for the University of Southern California and the excitement he has for playing at the next level.
"This was a very hard decision for me," Williams said. "I love USC, Coach Sark and the coaching staff, my teammates and the fans, and I love the game of college football. It's hard to leave all of that. I know life is never the same once you leave college. But I feel like it's the right time for me to go. I feel like I'm ready. I'm looking forward to the new challenge that the NFL presents."
Williams was quite the joy to watch over the years, both for his on-the-field dominance and the post-play euphoria that resonated from a wide smile and tremendous humor. He finished his career as a two-time First Team All-American, the first Trojan defensive end to accomplish that since Marlin McKeever did so in 1959-60.
This most recent campaign was no different as Williams finished second on the team with 80 tackles, including 9.5 for loss with a team-high seven sacks on the season. Over his illustrious three-year career, Williams recored 218 tackles, including 36.5 for losses with 21 sacks for the USC Trojans.
What better way to wish Leonard Williams off into the NFL then by taking one final look at the infectious humor the Florida native brought to the USC community.