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2015 NFL DRAFT

UConn's Yawin Smallwood boosts 2014 LB draft class

By Dane Brugler | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst

Yawin Smallwood has tallied 332 total tackles the past three seasons. (USATSI)
Yawin Smallwood has tallied 332 total tackles the past three seasons. (USATSI)

Connecticut junior LB Yawin Smallwood made it official on Saturday, he will enter the 2014 NFL Draft. He projects as a likely top-100 prospect and day two selection. Smallwood released an open letter and stated his intentions.

Smallwood is the No. 4-rated ILB and No. 109 prospect overall for the 2014 class, according to NFLDraftScout.com. He led the Huskies in 2013 with 118 tackles and four sacks, adding 9.5 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended and one interception.

At 6-2 and 244 pounds, Smallwood has NFL size and length with the strength to match, displaying the toughness and energy to finish tackles. He plays fast downhill, but also flashes the range to drop and cover the sidelines. Although he's leaving after his junior season, Smallwood has a very productive resume with 36 starts and 332 total tackles the past three seasons.

For a full list of the underclassmen who will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, click here.

Smallwood released this open-letter on Saturday:

First, I would like to give my sincere thanks to University of Connecticut for providing me with a tremendous educational and athletic opportunity. Attaining a higher education has been my lifelong dream and I could not have made it this far without the love and encouragement from my family and friends. Thanks to the endless support of my coaches, faculty, and everyone in the athletic department, I have had the most amazing collegiate experience. I have learned lifelong lessons about responsibilities, accountability, teamwork, loyalty, friendship, and grace under pressure. With the support of my Mother and advisers, I have decided to forgo my final season in order to pursue my next dream: to become a great professional athlete. I plan to enter the 2014 NFL draft.

I am excited to take this next step in my journey to become a better person, to continue learning, maturing, and to develop into a responsible, upstanding citizen. I pray I can become not just an honorable representative of the sport of football, but also a role model and philanthropist, giving back to the community and doing my part in making this world a better place.

I would like to say a special thank you to my coaches. Thank you for your patience and your faith in me. Thank you for never allowing me to settle, compromise, or give anything less than 110%. Thank you for taking the time to teach me – I appreciate all you have done for me and the wisdom you have shared with me. I will never forget the invaluable lessons, both on and off the field.

To my teammates: I could not have made it through these years without you. You have all become my friends, my teachers, my comrades. Through the glories and the losses, the sweat and tears, I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.

To the fans of Husky football, and each and every supporter, thank you for the humbling privilege of playing for you. Thank you for your amazing support throughout the years.

It has been an honor to be apart of the husky family. I will forever call myself a husky and carry it with respect, admiration, and pride.

All my best,
Yawin Smallwood

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