Missouri RB Henry Josey to enter 2014 NFL Draft

Henry Josey is only the second player in school history to record two 1,000-yard rushing seasons.  (USATSI)
Henry Josey is only the second player in school history to record two 1,000-yard rushing season. (USATSI)

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Missouri running back Henry Josey will make himself available for the 2014 NFL Draft, completing a fantastic comeback story for the Tigers' star. 

Josey suffered a horrific knee injury in 2011 that kept him off the football field for 659 days. At the time, Josey was leading the Big 12 -- yep, that long ago -- in rushing and ranked fifth in the nation. When Josey finally made his return to the field in 2013 after three surgeries, he burst back onto the scene with 113 yards rushing in the Tigers' season opener.

Josey went on to finish the season with 1,166 rushing yards (6.70 yards per carry) and 16 rushing touchdowns. He is only the second running back in school history to record two 1,000-yard seasons in his career, and Josey capped his Missouri career with 92 yards and three touchdowns, including the final go-ahead score with three minutes remaining, in the Tigers' thrilling 41-31 victory against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. 

In the official announcement, Josey was sure thank the coaches and trainers that helped him get back on the field and in a position to declare for the NFL Draft. 

"This is really a bittersweet decision to make," said Josey.  "I’m so grateful to Mizzou and my coaches and teammates and fans for all of their support and everything they’ve meant to me these past four years.  It’s difficult to think I won’t be with them next year.  But I’m really excited to have a chance to play professionally and work on fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid.  I can’t possibly express how much I owe to so many people for helping me get to this position, my doctors, trainers, strength coaches, everyone who pushed me and helped me and believed in me, and of course my coaches for trusting me. 

"To the Mizzou fans, thanks so much for all of your prayers and thoughts the past couple of years, you truly inspired me to get back on the field.  I’m going to miss my teammates but I know they’ll do great things and I will always be a Mizzou Tiger."

Head coach Gary Pinkel made note of Josey's contributions to the program, calling the star running back a positive influence on and off the field. 

"Henry Josey is a first-class person any way you cut it, and anytime you take that out of your program, it leaves a void," Pinkel said in a prepared statement.  "He is such an amazing competitor, and I’ve said time and again just how inspiring he has been for our team the last two years.  We were so proud of him for overcoming everything he had to deal with, and to be such a positive influence on and off the field.  We’re going to miss him, no question, but Henry wants to pursue his dream of playing professionally and we wish him nothing but the best and we’ll do everything we can to help him reach that goal." 

After Josey made his return to the field in September, Gary Pinkel gave out a game ball for the first time in his 35 years of coaching. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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