Nick Fairley to skip senior season

MOBILE, Ala. -- Lombardi Award winner Nick Fairley is
skipping his senior season at Auburn to enter the NFL draft.

The potential No. 1 overall pick announced his decision Friday
at his old high school, saying he didn't make up his mind until
that morning.

"I was thinking, 'What more could I accomplish my senior
year?' " Fairley said.

He and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton -- who is also turning pro -- led
the Tigers to a 14-0 season and their first national title since 1957.

Fairley was the defensive MVP in the BCS National Championship Game against Oregon when he had a sack, three tackles for losses and forced a fumble. He also led the Southeastern Conference with 24 tackles for a loss and had a school-record 11½ sacks.

Fairley said he had a long visit with Auburn coach Gene Chizik
and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker in Auburn, then came home and
talked it over with his parents.

After that, "I went on a long ride by myself. I think I came
out with the best decision to benefit me, my family and all the
folks around me."

Fairley played two seasons at Auburn after transferring from
junior college. He flashed his potential at times in 2009, but
didn't consistently dominate until this season.

"It's crazy for me to be in this position," Fairley said.
"Coming into this year, I didn't think things were going to be
this big. I didn't know I was going to have a big year like that."

If he is taken first in the draft, he would join former
Williamson High quarterback JaMarcus Russell as a No. 1 pick from
the school.