Running back Damarea Crockett leaves Mizzou for NFL draft


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COLUMBIA, MO. • After sitting out the final two games of the season, Missouri junior running back Damarea Crockett has decided he won’t return to the Tigers next season and will enter the NFL draft. Crockett was a 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman in 2016 but missed parts of the last two seasons with injuries.

“My journey here at Mizzou has been nothing less than amazing from beginning to end,” Crockett said in a Twitter post Monday afternoon. “The people I have crossed paths with during my time here has given me a different outlook on life. I’ve learned things here I wouldn’t have at other places. Columbia will always  be my home!

“Thank You, sincerely Coach (Josh) Heupel, Coach (Barry) Odom, and Coach (Cornell) Ford for taking a chance on a young man from Magnolia, Arkansas. This football program has molded me into a man and has prepared me for the journey ahead.

“To all my brothers that stuck with me through the ups and downs, and who have helped me keep my head high, I can’t tell you how much that means to me. The relationships I have made with you all will a LIFETIME. I love my brothers with all my heart.

“A special thanks goes to the sports medicine staff and the strength staff for keeping me in great health during my 3 years here.

“Lastly, I would like to thank God! It’s a blessing to be in this position and to even have a chance to live out my dreams. Thank you to everyone who helped me get to this position.

“With that being said, I would like to announce that I will forgo my senior season and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.”

Multiple team sources were surprised by Crockett’s decision, especially in light of the NFL College Advisory Committee’s recommendation that he return to school. The committee gives draft prospects one of three grades, projecting them first- or second-round picks and if not they recommend they return to school. Crockett was not available for immediate comment.