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Flowers declares for NFL Draft, could become UM's first 1st rounder since 2008

Hurricanes left tackle Ereck Flowers, a man of few words, reached out to local recruiting guru Larry Blustein on Tuesday to get out a message. Like star running back Duke Johnson, he too is foregoing his senior season at the University of Miami to enter the NFL Draft.

"I have done everything that I can in college as a football player and now it's time to take that next step," Flowers told Blustein. "I believe this is the best for my family and myself. They had told me I had a second round grade, but I will really look to raise that bar over the next few months."

The news of Flowers departure -- still unannounced by school officials at UM -- comes as little surprise. Scouts have said Flowers has the potential to be a first round pick since November and ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay projected the 6-6, 324-pound junior as the 12th overall pick in May's draft. The Hurricanes haven't had a first round pick since safety Kenny Phillips was taken by the New York Giants 31st overall in 2008.

"We sat down and looked at everything and felt that this was the best thing for Ereck and our family," his father Everald told Blustein. "After being injured early in the year, he came back and worked harder than ever to get himself back on the field.

"Right now, we cannot listen to where people are  projecting Ereck to go. We have to continue putting ourselves in a position and work hard to get to that next level."

Flowers had minor surgery to repair a torn meniscus after the Virginia Tech game. He missed the following game, but returned and had a stellar performance against Florida State. He's started 29 games in his career at Miami including 25 of the last 26 at left tackle.

Said Flowers: "I am very excited about this next challenge in my life and career."