Nick Fairley to skip senior season

Updated: January 14, 2011, 8:48 PM ET
Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. -- Lombardi Award winner Nick Fairley is skipping his senior season at Auburn to enter the NFL draft.

The potential No. 1 overall pick announced his decision Friday at his old high school, saying he didn't make up his mind until that morning.

"I was thinking, 'What more could I accomplish my senior year?' " Fairley said.

He and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton -- who is also turning pro -- led the Tigers to a 14-0 season and their first national title since 1957.

Fairley was the defensive MVP in the BCS National Championship Game against Oregon when he had a sack, three tackles for losses and forced a fumble. He also led the Southeastern Conference with 24 tackles for a loss and had a school-record 11½ sacks.

Fairley said he had a long visit with Auburn coach Gene Chizik and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker in Auburn, then came home and talked it over with his parents.

After that, "I went on a long ride by myself. I think I came out with the best decision to benefit me, my family and all the folks around me."

Fairley played two seasons at Auburn after transferring from junior college. He flashed his potential at times in 2009, but didn't consistently dominate until this season.

"It's crazy for me to be in this position," Fairley said. "Coming into this year, I didn't think things were going to be this big. I didn't know I was going to have a big year like that."

If he is taken first in the draft, he would join former Williamson High quarterback JaMarcus Russell as a No. 1 pick from the school.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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