Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas is headed to the NFL.
Thomas, who redshirted in 2014 and had two seasons of eligibility remaining, is the No. 9-ranked draft-eligible defensive end, according to ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
"Since pulling out a symbolic Stanford tree and donning nerd glasses on National Signing Day in 2014, I have had the most amazing time of my life," Thomas said in a statement announcing his decision. "I have grown and matured more than I ever could have imagined. I arrived at Stanford somewhat shy and uncertain; now I stand a curious, intelligent, dedicated, and motivated man who is ready to take on any challenge, including the NFL."
Solomon arrived at Stanford as one of the most-heralded recruits in school history and for the past two seasons has been among the top pass rushers in the Pac-12. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection this year and was honored with the Morris Trophy, given to the conference's top defensive lineman as voted on by offensive linemen in the conference.
He finished the season with eight sacks, 15 tackles for loss and led the Cardinal with 62 tackles.
"Solomon is explosive, strong, athletic, relentless and he's worked extremely hard to put himself in the position to be an early draft pick," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "He's ready for the next challenge. I'm looking forward to hearing his name called early in the 2017 draft."
Solomon is the second Stanford player to declare early for the draft, joining running back Christian McCaffrey. The Cardinal finished the season 10-3 and beat North Carolina 25-23 in the Hyundai Sun Bowl after Thomas sacked Mitch Trubisky on a game-tying two-point conversion attempt with 25 seconds left.