Auburn junior defensive end Corey Lemonier is foregoing his senior year and will enter the 2013 NFL Draft, according to a tweet by ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad.
Schad quoted Lemonier as saying, “I feel I’m ready for the next level.”
Lemonier projects to go in the earlier rounds, and possibly as high as the later part of the first round. 2013 has a deep crop of pass-rushing prospects, including Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore and LSU’s Sam Montgomery.
Lemonier produced 5.5 sacks his junior year, but just half a sack for three yards in the last eight games of Auburn’s 3-9 season. He had two sacks each in nationally-televised close losses to Clemson and LSU. He was tied for fourth in the SEC his sophomore campaign with 9.5 sacks.
On Nov. 4, Lemonier was asked about his mindset regarding his senior year. He would only say “It’s all about performance. It’s self-explanatory. I’m still just trying to focus on the season.”
Lemonier’s 17 career sacks rank tied for seventh in Auburn history.
His departure leaves Dee Ford as Auburn’s most experienced defensive end, under the tutelage of new D-Line coach Rodney Garner. Ford will be joined by Nosa Eguae, Craig Sanders and LaDarius Owens.