Jack Conklin skipping senior season for NFL draft

Michigan State All-America left tackle Jack Conklin is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft, the school announced Wednesday.

Conklin thanked Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and offensive line coach Mark Staten and offensive coordinator Jim Bollman in the statement released by the school. He added that the "past four years hold some of the most memorable moments of my life so far with my Spartan family by my side" and said he's "incredibly proud to have been part of the most successful run in Michigan State football history."

Conklin, a former walk-on, started 38 of the past 39 games for the Spartans, including victories in the 2014 Rose Bowl and the 2015 Cotton Bowl and last week's loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder was named a first-team All-American by Sporting News and USA Today and second team by The Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America and Walter Camp in 2015. ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay has Conklin as a projected first-round pick in his latest mock draft. He ranks among the Top 25 NFL prospects on Mel Kiper's Big Board.