Linebacker McRath to enter NFL draft

Southern Mississippi junior linebacker Gerald McRath said Sunday night that he will enter the NFL draft.

"I've graduated with a degree in sports administration and business and now I want to work my butt off for the pros," McRath said from his Georgia home.

McRath, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, can play inside or outside linebacker. He is a Conference USA defensive player of the year winner and a two-time first-team all-conference selection.

McRath had 127 tackles, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles this season. He has 386 tackles, 32½ tackles for loss and eight sacks in his career.

"I'm a unique player who can bring a lot of speed," McRath said.

Southern Mississippi ended the season with a 30-27 overtime victory over Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

If he does not sign with an agent and decides to return for his final season, McRath must submit a letter informing the NFL of his intentions by midnight on Jan. 18.

Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.