In what should be no surprise to anyone, Syracuse Orange OL Justin Pugh has announced that he will forego his senior season and become eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft.
"Coach Marrone and Coach Adkins have been great throughout my career, including through this process," Pugh said. "I wanted to be honest with everyone as I made this decision and they were the same with me. My Syracuse career was the best four years of my life. My teammates, coaches, the staff and the fans have been great. I would not change anything about my decision to attend Syracuse or my career. I am so happy I came to Syracuse University. I will always be active in the Orange football program and the Syracuse community. I love the Orange. Go 'Cuse."
"Justin is a big part of this program turning the corner," Marrone said. "He came in with us four years ago and gave us everything he had. We are proud of him for earning his degree and for what he has accomplished on the field as a leader of this team. He has earned it. I believe he will be very successful at the next level and in everything he does outside of football. Justin will always be part of the Orange football family."
Pugh was the cornerstone of the best Syracuse offensive line in years and it's no coincidence that the team's fortunes changed when he returned from injury after September. The Syracuse ground game was solid behind Pugh and he blocked for 1,000 rusher all three seasons.
Pugh told Joe Schad that "My goal is to play in the NFL and the time is right." Schad also mentioned that he is rated as the seventh-best OT by ESPN. While there is late first round chatter is some circles, chances are Pugh is looking anywhere from 2nd to 4th round, at least until we find out what he can do at the combine and team workouts.
Congrats to Pugh and Orange Nation wishes him well in the pros. Look forward to seeing him on Sundays.