FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ junior tailback combination of All-American’s Darren McFadden and Felix Jones announced their decisions to forgo their senior seasons and declare for the NFL Draft on Monday at a press conference inside the Broyles Athletic Center.
McFadden departs the University of Arkansas as the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,590 yards over a 38-game career. The two-time Doak Walker Award winner, two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up and two-time consensus All-American ranks second in Southeastern Conference history in rushing and holds the single-season record for all-purpose yardage with 2,310 in 2007.
“For the past three years I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend the University of Arkansas, play football for the Razorbacks and be a part of something truly special,” McFadden said. “When I was growing up, I dreamed of playing for the Hogs and the fans of the state, and I have had a chance to live that dream. Now the time has come to pursue another dream of mine – playing in the National Football League.
“After consulting with my family, I feel that entering my name for the NFL Draft is the right decision for me,” McFadden said. “I’m looking forward to the new challenge and am excited to get started.”
McFadden produced his best season in cardinal and white in his final campaign with the Hogs. He shattered his own school record for rushing yards in a season and finished with the second-highest total in SEC history (1,830). McFadden also set a school record for yards per game in 2007 with 140.8, which is also the eighth-best mark in SEC history.
Jones, a two-time first-team All-American kickoff returner, will move onto the NFL after amassing 2,956 yards rushing on 386 carries over three seasons backing up McFadden. He averaged an astonishing 7.66 yards per carry over his career, including an NCAA best 8.74 yards per carry average in 2007 when he totaled 1,162 yards on 133 carries.
“In the past few weeks I have taken time to consider my football future, and what was the best opportunity for me and my family,” Jones said. “My decision has not been an easy one as I have tried to balance my love for this university, this state and the Razorbacks against my desire to play in the NFL. Growing up, I dreamed of playing football on Sundays.
“After considering all of the factors, I am confident that my decision to forgo my senior season to enter the NFL Draft is the right decision. My three years at Arkansas have been some of the best years of my life.”
As a kickoff returner, Jones set Arkansas records for the most career kickoff returns (62), yardage (1,749) and per return average (28.21). He also set single-season marks for yards (652, 2007) and per return average (31.94, 2005). Jones also leaves as the SEC’s all-time leader in yards per return (28.21) and ranks ninth in career yardage (1,749).
McFadden and Jones are the third and fourth players over the past two years to declare for the NFL Draft following their junior seasons. A year ago, Jamaal Anderson and Chris Houston left early and were selected in the first- and second-round, respectively by the Atlanta Falcons.