WACO, Texas - Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is headed to the NFL.
Griffin made it official Wednesday, announcing he would skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft after a record-breaking college career. The announcement comes a month and a day after the dual-threat quarterback became the first Baylor player to win U.S. college football's highest individual honour.
"It was a tough decision, I love the people at this university, love my coach for giving me a chance to be a quarterback," Griffin said.
Stanford's Andrew Luck, the Heisman runner-up, and Griffin are likely to be the first two quarterbacks selected next April.
Griffin arrived at Baylor along with coach Art Briles before the 2008 season. Briles was at Griffin's side Wednesday, both still basking in a season that ended with the Bears ranked No. 13 — the first time since 1986 they were in the final poll of the year.
"I talked to coach, neither of us broke down, surprisingly,' said Griffin, though Briles broke in to add: "Not on the outside."
Small wonder. Losing a talent like Griffin would be a blow for any coach.
Griffin set or tied 54 school records while playing 41 games at Baylor over the past four seasons. The fourth-year junior has another season of eligibility remaining at Baylor because he got a medical redshirt after he tore the ACL in his right knee in the third game of the 2009 season.
The Bears tied a school record with 10 wins this season, including a six-game win streak to end the year. They finished with a record-setting 67-56 victory over Washington in the Alamo Bowl, their first bowl victory since 1992.
Griffin is Baylor's career passing leader. He completed 800-of-1,192 passes (67 per cent) for 10,366 yards with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. His 2,254 yards and 33 TDs rushing are records for a Bears quarterback.
He completed 291-of-402 passes (72 per cent) for 4,293 yards and 37 TDs with only six interceptions this season, when he also ran for 699 yards and 10 more touchdowns. He was the NCAA's second-most efficient passer with a 189.48 rating, just behind Wisconsin's Russell Wilson, whose 191.78 rating came with 93 fewer pass attempts.
Griffin arrived at Waco as a 17-year-old freshman in January 2008 after graduating from high school a semester early. He completed an undergraduate degree in political science in December 2010 and has been working on master's degree in communications.