Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong declares for NFL draft

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Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong (21) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong (21) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong will not return to school for his final season of eligibility. Instead, the redshirt junior announced through the university on Monday that he will enter the 2015 NFL draft.

Heading into Saturday’s Sun Bowl against Duke, Strong has 75 catches for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Sun Devils this season, earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors. Last year, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound Strong caught 75 passes for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns.

A native of Philadelphia, Strong transferred to Arizona State before the 2013 season after spending two years at Pierce College, a junior college in Los Angeles.

"Jaelen's enormous impact was felt from the first day he stepped on the practice field with us more than 16 months ago,” ASU head coach Todd Graham said in a statement. “His work ethic, attention to detail and overall football IQ are just a few of his attributes that make him such a special talent.

"It has been a great pleasure to watch him grow into the young man he has become - a leader off the field and a giver in his community. We look forward to one final game together and we wish him luck as he gets set to embark on the next chapter of his football career."

Strong’s 2,184 receiving yards ranks eighth in Arizona State history. He is projected by many draft experts to be a first-round pick.

“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” Strong said in a statement. “I’ve spoken to my family and we feel it is best for me to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. First I would like to thank Coach Graham and the staff for believing in me from day one. I’d like to thank the Sun Devil Nation, the fans, and all of the people who work behind the scenes that I encounter everyday that have been like a family to me.

"Most importantly, I would like to thank my teammates, my brothers, for having my back through thick and thin. Finally, I’d like to thank Jean Boyd and his academic staff for their dedication to Sun Devil Football. My two years at Arizona State University have produced the best experiences of my life.”

For more Arizona State news, visit ASUDevils.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!