Oregon's Sewell opts out, declares for 2021 NFL Draft

Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell looks on as Oregon plays Auburn in an NCAA college football game Saturday Aug. 31 2019 in Arlington Texas. Auburn won 27-21

Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell looks on as Oregon plays Auburn in an NCAA college football game Saturday Aug. 31 2019 in Arlington Texas. Auburn won 27-21

Penei Sewell, the starting left tackle for OR, announced Monday that he will not return to college football and will begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft.

"The love and support I received has been overwhelming, and I could not be more grateful", Sewell posted to Twitter.

"(Ever) since I was a little, I have dreamt of playing professional football", Sewell stated in the tweet. He led the Ducks with 58 knockdowns and led the nation with a run-blocking grade of 95.3 from Pro Football Focus and was third with a pass-blocking grade of 91.1.OR coach Mario Cristobal repeatedly said Sewell was the best offensive lineman he ever coached during the course of Sewell's brief college career."Extremely smart, super-high football IQ", Cristobal said before the Pac-12 Championship Game last season. Last year, Sewell was named the Pac-12's top offensive lineman and earned consensus first-team All-America honors. The Big Ten also postponed the season.

The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder was widely considered to be a top pick in the 2021 National Football League draft.

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Sewell is ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect in the country by ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., behind Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Sewell is widely expected to be a top-10 pick and in contention to be the first offensive lineman off the board. He played the left tackle position for UO with stellar pass protection, allowing no sacks over 926 snaps in 2019, and only one sack over 1,376 career snaps.

Sewell's decision follows the Pac-12's announcement in August of the postponement of all fall sports, including football, due to the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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