Less than a week after he helped the Trojans to a 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, Smith-Schuster announced that he will forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.
"This was a very difficult decision to make. I have loved my time at USC and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," he said in a statement. "Playing for USC was truly a dream come true, and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish in three years."
In three seasons as starter for the Trojans, Smith-Schuster caught 213 passes for 3,092 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is the No. 4-ranked draft-eligible receiver, according to ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ESPN's Todd McShay projected Smith-Schuster as the No. 22 overall pick in his first mock draft.
In Monday's Rose Bowl, Smith-Schuster caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. He also came up with two key catches on a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that kept the Trojans in the game.
The announcement comes a day after USC offensive guard Damien Mama, a junior, said he would enter the NFL draft. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson is also considering a jump to the next level but has not publicly announced his plans for next season.