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Joe Kruger leaving Utes for NFL Draft

Published January 2, 2013 6:21 pm

College football • Departure leaves Utes with holes to fill on defensive line.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It was expected Utah defensive end Joe Kruger would follow his older brother Paul into the NFL given his talent. Apparently he wants to make that move sooner rather than later.

The junior announced Wednesday he will enter the 2013 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound defensive end played in 37 of 38 games from 2010-12 with 14 starts.

He finished the 2012 season with 30 tackles, including eight tackles for a loss and a team-high six sacks in 11 games.

"I am releasing this statement after much prayer, consideration and evaluation with my family in announcing that I have decided to forgo my final year of eligibility and enter the 2013 draft," he said in a statement. "These past three years, I have been honored to be a part of a very special group of teammates and coaches at the University of Utah. I have cherished what has been an amazing college experience."

Joe's older brother Paul plays for the Baltimore Ravens while older brother Dave finished his career as in 2012, logging 30 tackles.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Joe had "NFL potential," and wished him the best in a statement.

"The Kruger name has been synonymous with Utah football for a lot of years and we are very appreciative for all they have done for our program."

The last player to leave Utah a year early for the NFL was corner Brandon Burton, who was drafted in the fifth round by Minnesota in the 2011 NFL Draft.