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Notre Dame CB KeiVarae Russell declares for NFL draft

Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell is declaring for the NFL draft, he told Sports Illustrated.

Russell completed his third season as a starter for the Fighting Irish, picking off two passes and finishing with 60 total tackles (3.5 for loss), two forced fumbles, four break-ups, six passes defended and one sack.

The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Russell started all 26 games his first two years with the Irish before serving a two-semester academic suspension that cost him the 2014 season. Russell was one of four players to be implicated in the school’s academic probe, and the only one who returned for the 2015 season.

The fourth-year junior told SI he is a semester away from graduating. It was unclear whether the NCAA would grant him eligibility for the 2016 season.

Russell broke his right tibia in a Nov. 21 game against Boston College, costing him the final two games of the season. After arriving to Notre Dame from Everett (Washington) High as a running back in 2012, Russell converted to cornerback and started all 37 games that he appeared in, finishing his career with 169 total tackles and five interceptions.

Russell is the third Notre Dame player to declare for the draft in the past three days, joining running back C.J. Prosise and wide receiver Will Fuller. The Irish are still awaiting word on the future of linebacker Jaylon Smith.