Wendell Smallwood has told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that he will indeed declare for the 2016 NFL draft. Smallwood was the Big 12 rushing champion this past season.
Smallwood joins junior safety Daryl Worley as WVU underclassmen foregoing their senior season. Rushel Shell also submitted paperwork to the NFL but has not made his decision as of yet. Both CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com have Smallwood as the 18th ranked running back in the draft.
Below is the official statement from Jeremy Fowler at ESPN.
West Virginia RB Wendell Smallwood told ESPN he’s declaring for the NFL draft. Smallwood led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,519 yards as a junior. Smallwood said the decision was difficult but he feels he will be an “exceptional” NFL player and wants WVU to know this was the best decision for his family. “A lot of NFL teams use backs a lot of different ways, so I feel my skill set helps me, knowing I can catch passes and go out wide while getting tough yards as a rusher.”
Smallwood’s next to last run as a Mountaineer set up the game winning score in the 2016 Cactus Bowl. Was a 24 yard run on 3rd and 22 late in the fourth
Look back at this run on 3rd and 22 and tell me how HUGE this was. Led to winning score pic.twitter.com/MnjtjNP1Ty
— BlueGoldSports.com (@Blue_GoldSports) January 3, 2016
I will forever be a mountaineer , thank you guys so much for everything . pic.twitter.com/TpVzLig08c
— Wendell Smallwood (@WeetWithThe_WAM) January 6, 2016