Jaelen Strong lived up to the hype.
Now Arizona State’s loss will be one NFL teams gain after the 6’3, 215-pound junior wide receiver announced Monday afternoon through ASU he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 draft.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” the Philadelphia native said. “I’ve spoken to my family and we feel it is best for me…I would like to thank [head coach] Todd Graham and the staff for believing in me from day one. I’d like to thank the Sun Devil Nation, the fans…most importantly, I would like to thank my teammates, my brothers, for having my back through thick and thin.”
Strong easily led all Sun Devil receivers in receptions (75), yards (1062), and touchdowns (10) this fall. Those numbers nearly mirror his 2014 tally of 75 catches, 1122 yards and seven scores. He will forever live in Sun Devil lore after his spectacular game-winning touchdown catch against USC in the LA Coliseum which was quickly branded as the “Jael Mary.”
“Jaelen’s enormous impact was felt from the first day he stepped on the practice field with us more than 16 months ago. His work ethic, attention to detail and overall football IQ are just a few of his attributes that make him such a special talent,” Graham said. “We look forward to one final game together and we wish him luck as he gets set to embark on the next chapter of his football career.”
Strong arrived to ASU via Pierce College in Los Angeles where he became a top 20 junior college prospect before verbally committing to ASU nearly two years ago (Christmas Day, 2012).
Strong’s finale will be Saturday when ASU plays Duke in the Sun Bowl.