Ryan Williams will enter NFL draft

Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams, who had two years of eligibility remaining, will enter the 2011 NFL draft, the school announced on Sunday.

On Thursday, Virginia Tech leading rusher Darren Evans also announced he would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. Together, Williams and Evans combined for 1,331 yards and 20 touchdowns this year.

Williams declined to have a press conference and coach Frank Beamer was at the annual coaches' convention and unavailable for comment.

"It came down to what I felt like was the best decision for me," Williams said in a prepared statement. "When they say you have the potential to be a first rounder, that's something that's hard to pass up. This has been my dream since I was six, and I've never wanted to do anything else. This is an opportunity to help out my family and especially my brother."

Williams played in 23 games for the Hokies, starting 18. Williams had a record-setting year as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He rushed for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns to earn first-team All-ACC accolades and ACC Rookie of the Year honors. He capped off the season with 117 rushing yards in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Tennessee to earn the game's Offensive MVP award. He missed several games this year due to a hamstring injury and finished with 477 yards and nine touchdowns.

For his career, he rushed for 2,132 yards and 30 touchdowns. His yardage total is the 14th-most in school history.

"There is no other place I'd rather play and there are no other fans I'd rather have than Virginia Tech fans," Williams said. "They are the most loyal fans in the country. They were with me all the way, both when I was up and when I was down, and I thank them for making my time here so special. I hope they won't be mad about my decision, but I hope they know that I'll always be a Hokie."

Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.