By JOEL COLEMAN
Another Bulldog has concluded his collegiate career early.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones announced Tuesday on Twitter and Instagram that he is bound for professional football.
“After discussing it with my family, I will forego my senior season at Mississippi State and enter the 2016 NFL Draft,” Jones posted online. “The past three years in Starkville have been unforgettable and I am proud to be a part of the legacy that we created.”
Jones becomes the second Mississippi State underclassman in the last week to announce his intentions to leave MSU early. Wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson announced on Friday that he would not return for his senior season.
Jones capped his career last week in Mississippi State’s 51-28 win over NC State in the Belk Bowl. In that game, Jones totaled five tackles.
For the 2015 season, Jones had 44 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
He was named the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Lineman of the Week after tying a career high with two tackles for loss, including a sack, in MSU’s win at Missouri.
Jones ended his career with 102 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
Jones signed with Mississippi State in February of 2013 following a much-publicized recruiting battle between MSU and Ole Miss. The Houston native was one of the country’s top prospects as he was rated the No. 2 overall player in the country by 247Sports and was ranked as the top player out of Mississippi by nearly every publication.
He burst onto the scene in his true freshman season and was named a freshman All-American by Bleacher Report, Athlon Sports and 247Sports for a year in which he posted a team-best 10 quarterback hurries and tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with seven.
Jones wasn’t quite as productive in his sophomore season, but still made 26 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks before his successful 2015 campaign.
“I want to thank my teammates and coaches, especially head coach Dan Mullen and defensive line coach David Turner, for giving me the opportunity to wear the maroon and white,” Jones wrote. “As I pursue a dream of playing in the NFL, I will always be a Bulldog.”
The 2016 NFL Draft will begin on April 30 and run through May 2.