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Cal RB Lynch to skip senior season, enter NFL draft

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Running back Marshawn Lynch said Tuesday
he will skip his senior season at California to enter the NFL
draft.

Lynch was the Pac-10's offensive player of the year after
rushing for a conference-best 1,356 yards and 11 touchdowns,
leading Cal (10-3) to a league co-championship and a victory over
Texas A&M in last week's Holiday Bowl with 111 yards and two
scores.

As a sophomore in 2005, Lynch became the fourth Cal tailback in
four years to rush for 1,000 yards under coach Jeff Tedford. The
Oakland, Calif., native rushed for 3,230 yards and 29 touchdowns in
his three seasons at Cal.

"The opportunity to play in the NFL is something that I have
always dreamed of," Lynch said. "Right now, it is just hitting me
that my dreams are going to have the chance to come true."

Lynch is just the second Cal player to enter the draft early in
Tedford's five seasons. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also bypassed his
senior season to enter the 2004 draft, going to the Green Bay
Packers in the first round.

"Marshawn has had an outstanding career here and has been a key
part of building this team into a nationally competitive program,"
Tedford said. "We are going to miss him, but support his decision.
This has always been a goal and dream for him."

Justin Forsett, who has rushed for 1,625 yards as Lynch's backup
over the last two seasons, is likely to replace Lynch next season
in Cal's backfield.