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Tuesday, January 14
Updated: January 16, 2:17 PM ET
McGahee, Johnson set to enter NFL draft

Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami running back Willis McGahee and wide receiver Andre Johnson will leave school early to enter the NFL draft.

Mel Kiper Jr.'s projected top 4
Now that Miami's Andre Johnson has officially declared for the draft, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. submits his top four picks:
1. Bengals Carson Palmer QB, Sr.
2. Lions Charles Rogers WR, Jr.
3. Texans Andre Johnson WR, Jr.
4. Bears Byron Leftwich QB, Jr.

"My unfulfilled dream is to play in the NFL," McGahee said in a statement released by family spokesman Sherman Anderson, The Miami Herald reported for Tuesday editions.

McGahee, a sophomore, had reconstructive knee surgery after tearing two ligaments in his left knee in Miami's 31-24 double overtime loss to Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He also said in the statement that one of his physicians, Dr. James Andrews, told him he would recover in time to play next season.

Eugene Poole, McGahee's brother, told The Palm Beach Post late Monday that McGahee was fulfilling a "childhood dream" by turning pro.

In his statement, McGahee also said he would not collect on a $2.5 million insurance policy he took out before the national championship game.

It's unlikely McGahee will be able to run before next summer. The draft is April 26-27 in New York; the deadline for underclassmen to declare is Wednesday.

McGahee set school records this season with 1,753 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns and was a first team All-American. He took over the starting job when Frank Gore injured his knee in March. Gore is expected to be healthy next season.

Johnson, a junior, told coach Larry Coker of his decision Monday morning.

"I just thought about it and felt like I was ready to move on," Johnson said. "It was a hard decision because I enjoyed playing college football. But I'm in a position where I can move on and moving on seemed to be the best decision for me."

Johnson caught 52 passes this season for 1,092 yards and nine touchdowns and was a third-team All-American.

With Johnson's departure, Miami returns only two receivers with extensive experience.

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 A New Challenge
Willis McGahee is determined to reach his childhood dream of playing in the NFL.
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The PTI crew debate Willis McGahee's decision to enter the NFL Draft.
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