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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft declares for the NFL Draft

(John Blaine — For The
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft will declare for the NFL Draft and forgo his final year of eligibility, head coach Kyle Flood announced Tuesday.

Kroft finished 2014 with 24 catches for 269 yards and no touchdowns, all drops from a sophomore season that made him a popular preseason All-America candidate.

But Kroft based his decision more on intangibles.

"I just evaluated how I played this year and how I've come in all facets of the game," Kroft said. "I know a lot of people get caught up in the numbers , but I'm confident in my tape and I feel like it's the right time for me."

Kroft said he spoke with nearly the entire coaching staff and ex-players for feedback. He also evaluated the current crop of NFL-bound tight ends.

Kroft becomes the first draft-eligible Rutgers player to leave early since Brandon Coleman (2013), who went undrafted. He said he doesn't fear the same fate.

"There's obviously a risk, but I don't think I would not get drafted," Kroft said. "Obviously if you're going to play this game you have to be very confident in what you can do. I know that'll show through."

Under former offensive coordinator Ron Prince, Kroft finished 2013 with 43 receptions for 573 yards and four TDs, all highs for a Rutgers tight end in recent memory.

In Kroft's place, Rutgers will turn to a combination of Nick Arcidiacono, walk-ons Matt Flanagan and Charles Scarrf, and redshirt freshmen George Behr and Logan Lister

They combined for two catches for 17 yards this season. 

"It's a room where we've got some guys we're excited about," Flood said. "I think it's going to take a lot of people to replace the production that Kroft has given us over the last two years."

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