Manningham skipping senior season at Michigan to enter NFL draft

Updated: January 14, 2008, 7:47 PM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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