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January 10, 2008Malcolm Kelly has decided to forgo his senior season at the University of Oklahoma and declare for the NFL draft. The move came shortly after Kelly and his family met with Bob Stoops. It was a meeting that apparently resulted in Stoops' blessing.
"We're excited for Malcolm and his family," Stoops said in a statement released through the university. "He was an outstanding player in our program and we appreciate all of his efforts. We look forward to watching him in the NFL. He is well-suited to professional football in many ways and we are sure that the attributes that made him such a success for us will serve him equally well on that level."
Kelly leaves Oklahoma after a standout career but one that saw its share of ups and downs. He leaves Norman with the second most touchdown passes in school history with 21.
Mark Clayton holds the school record with 30 TD passes for a career.
Kelly's 49 receptions for 821 yards and 9 TDs during his junior season failed to eclipse his sophomore totals of 62 receptions for 992 yards and 10 TDs.
Kelly decided to declare after he received his initial draft grade from the NFL draft's advisory committee. Kelly was given a '2' meaning he was projected as a second-round pick.
But Kelly wasn't discouraged as he believed his draft prospects were much higher than most because of his junior status.
Kelly's departure will be felt in 2008 as his absence in the Fiesta Bowl resulted in a very slow start for the OU offense.
The Sooners will have to find a way to replace Kelly's deep-threat presence as he averaged 16.8 yards per reception.
Adron Tennell spent most of the 2008 season as Kelly's backup but he will take a while to come back from a torn ACL and will not return for spring practices this year.
Quentin Chaney filled in admirably for Kelly in the Fiesta Bowl pulling down four receptions for 129 yards.
But Chaney has been very inconsistent during his Sooner career and no one on the Sooner roster has proven to be as capable as Kelly over the last two seasons.
Oklahoma is also involved with several receivers which are still not committed to college programs.
Julio Jones, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound wideout from Foley, Alabama, is the nation's top wide receiver recruit. He currently lists the Sooners along with Alabama, Florida State, Florida and Texas Tech as possible college destinations.
The news of Kelly's departure could also affect the state's top prospect in Jameel Owens, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound wide receiver from Muskogee, Okla.
Owens is set to announce his college decision on Jan. 15th. He will reportedly choose between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Kansas State and Texas Tech.