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Manningham skipping senior season at Michigan to enter NFL draft

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Mario Manningham will skip his senior
season at Michigan to enter the NFL draft.

"It was a hard decision, but after discussing it with my family
it was the right one for me to make right now," Manningham said
Monday in an interview with The Associated Press while driving home
to Ohio. "I've heard I will be drafted in the first round because
of the lack of depth at wide receiver."

Manningham said he will work out in Cleveland while preparing
for the April draft.

New Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said last week he didn't
expect to coach Manningham, fellow wideout Adrian Arrington or
quarterback Ryan Mallett at Michigan.

Arrington also passed up his final year of eligibility to enter
the NFL draft. Mallet left Michigan after his freshman season and
plans to transfer to another school.

Manningham is a potential first-round pick after catching 72
passes for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He also
rushed 19 times for 119 yards and a score, earning second-team
All-America honors.

The 6-foot, 178-pound native of Warren, Ohio, had 65 receptions
for 1,136 yards and 15 touchdowns during his first two seasons with
the Wolverines.

Most of Michigan's top offensive players from 2007 are gone,
leaving the Wolverines with a rebuilding project this year. In
addition to the early departures of Manningham and Arrington,
running back Mike Hart, quarterback Chad Henne and All-America
tackle Jake Long were seniors this season.

Rodriguez, the West Virginia coach before leaving to become
Lloyd Carr's successor at Michigan, plans to have his spread
offense led by a mobile quarterback. The 6-foot-7, 252-pound
Mallett has a strong arm and is best suited for a pro-style
offense.

Mallett's father said last week that his son wouldn't return to
Ann Arbor, but said Monday that the former Texas Class 4A offensive
player of the year had not yet decided where to resume his college
football career.