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January 7, 2013

Tight ends turn pro

Stanford redshirt juniors Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo announced today their intentions to forego their final year of college eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft.

Ertz, a member of Stanford's 2009 recruiting class, redshirted his first year on campus, and had the opportunity to return to The Farm for a fifth year in 2013. But the prospect of being a high pick in the NFL -- Ertz is projected to be selected in the first or second round -- was ultimately too enticing to pass up.

"In light of achieving our collective dream of winning the Rose Bowl Game, it is difficult to imagine not playing side-by-side with my Stanford brothers for another season. However, after returning home and talking to my family, coaches and advisors and conducting a thorough analysis of the situation, I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility at Stanford University," Ertz said in a statement released by the school.

While not expected to be as high a draft pick as Ertz, Toilolo

"After much thought, prayer, and discussion with my family, I have decided to forego my senior season of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft," Toilolo said. "It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of this team and University for the past four years. Academics are a great priority for a Stanford man, and I take great pride in being on track to graduate from Stanford University in June."

Both Ertz and Toilolo are expected to earn their degrees from Stanford this year. He expressed gratitude to the school for helping him achieve his professional aspirations.

"It has been a dream of mine to play in the NFL for as long as I can remember, and I would not be in this position without my coaches, professors and everyone associated with the University," Ertz said. "It has been a true honor to play for such an incredible program, and I'm proud to be graduating with a bachelor of science degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University in June."

Added Toilolo:

"I would like to thank all of the coaches and staff who have shaped me as both a person and a player, allowing me to be in this position. Writing this brief sentiment has caused me to realize how much I will truly miss this extraordinary University, and more importantly the people here - including the professors, students and fans. I will forever cherish the memories I have made with my friends and teammates, and I thank you all for making my time here special."

The tight ends' decision comes two days after a trio of Stanford defensive players -- Shayne Skov, Ben Gardner and Trent Murphy -- announced their return for a fifth year. Defensive back Terrence Brown has still not announced his plans for next season.



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