Defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who went from relative obscurity to the nation’s most dominant defensive tackle, said Friday he will pass up his senior season and make himself available for the NFL draft.
Fairley, fighting his emotions, made the announcement at Williamson High School in Mobile, where he played high school football. He said he sought the advice of Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and his parents.
“I had a long talk with Coach Chiz and Coach Rocker,” Fairley said. “I talked to my parents. Last night, I had a long talk with myself. I am going to forego my senior year at Auburn University.”
Fairley said his senior year, which culminated with the Tigers beating Oregon last Monday to win the BCS national championship, was one he'll remember for the rest of his life.
“I want to say thanks to the Auburn nation and fans for their support,” Fairley said. “It was a great experience for me. Coach Chizik and Coach Rocker are great guys. I’d also like to thank my family that is here with me today.”
Fairley started just two games in 2009, but exploded on the SEC scene in 2010. He won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman and was a consensus All-American. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper says he could be the first player chosen in the draft.
Fairley followed Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, who announced Thursday he plans to enter the NFL draft.