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Jordan Whitehead declares for the 2018 NFL draft

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NCAA Football: Villanova at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt safety Jordan Whitehead announced Monday morning that he will forgo his senior season with the Panthers and enter the 2018 NFL draft.

Whitehead was considered Pitt’s most notable star heading into the 2017 season. He’s best known for his work as a defender, as he kicked off his collegiate career by winning ACC Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. In that campaign, he led the team with 110 tackles in 13 games, adding six passes defended, one fumble recovery and an interception.

In addition to his contributions on defense, Whitehead also proved to be one of Pitt’s better options at running back, as he ran the ball 43 times for 362 yards and three touchdowns during his Pitt career, averaging 8.4 yards per carry.

Monday’s news comes as little surprise, as Whitehead was considered a top prospect at the onset of the season. Fox Sports, CBS Sports, SEC Country and other outlets previously had him pegged as a surefire first-round pick. However, it seems his draft stock may have slid a bit this season.

Walter Football, an outlet that initially viewed Whitehead as a first-rounder, now considers the safety more likely to be taken in the second or third round. And a more recent mock draft from CBS Sports has Whitehead notably omitted from the first round as well.

Whitehead is not the first player from the 2017 Pitt team to declare for the draft, as fellow standout Quadree Henderson made the surprise announcement that he would attempt to make the leap to the NFL last Monday. The draft gets underway on April 26, 2018.