Iowa's Spievey declares for draft

After helping Iowa to a FedEx Orange Bowl championship, cornerback Amari Spievey has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Spievey ranked second on the team with 42 solo tackles and recorded two interceptions and 10 passes defended as a shutdown corner this season. He finishes his college career with six interceptions and 124 tackles.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Spievey earned All-Big Ten honors in each of the past two seasons.

"My time at the University of Iowa has been great and the opportunity Coach [Kirk] Ferentz and defensive coordinator Norm Parker have given me has been tremendous," Spievey said in a statement released to ESPN.com. "Even though I love being a Hawkeye, moving on to the NFL is in my best interest."

Spievey is rated as the nation’s No. 4 junior cornerback by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. He's expected to be selected in the second or third round.

You can't blame Spievey for making the jump, though he would have been the Big Ten's premier cornerback in 2010 if he returned. This is a big loss for Iowa's defense, which returns star pass-rusher Adrian Clayborn and playmaking safety Tyler Sash, but will need to reload at linebacker. Spievey took away one side of the field in most games, and while you didn't hear his name that much this year, it was because opposing teams rarely challenged him.

After offensive line and linebacker, cornerback now becomes a big priority for Iowa in 2010.