Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer declares for the NFL Draft

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SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 12: Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) rolls to his right and looks to pass downfield during the NCAA football game between the Army Black Knights and Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 12, 2016 at the Alamodome, San Antonio, TX (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SOUTH BEND – The possibility of leading an NFL team onto the field in 2017 was too much for Notre Dame’s signalcaller to pass up.

Especially when the chances of him getting drafted early are strong.

Hence DeShone Kizer is deciding against returning to South Bend for his senior season next fall, instead foregoing his final year of eligibility to put his name in for the NFL Draft.

Kizer made the announcement via Twitter and a video from Bleacher Report on Monday.

Kizer finishes up his Notre Dame career with 5,809 yards with 47 touchdowns compared to 19 interceptions. He took over for the injured Malik Zaire in the third game of the 2015 season and held the job for most of the time after that.

In a quarterback rotation to begin the season, Kizer was declared the starter for the Irish in Week 2 of the 2016 season and never gave it up. He threw for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions while also rushing for 472 yards and eight scores.

“DeShone is an extremely gifted quarterback that was faced with a difficult decision,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly in a release from the university. “He could return as a senior captain at Notre Dame — a place that he loves, and with a program that respects him immensely. Or, he could begin the next chapter in his life and accept the opportunity that likely awaits in the NFL.

“While he chose the latter, the type of leadership DeShone displayed this past season will benefit our program moving forward. He’ll certainly be missed on and off the field, but we’re very happy for him and his family. DeShone will always represent this University with the utmost professionalism and class.”

Kizer is expected to be drafted early in the first round, with some projections having him among the Top 10 picks.