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East Carolina standout running back Keaton Mitchell enters NFL draft

Dec 27, 2022; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; East Carolina Pirates running back Keaton Mitchell (2) runs for a gain against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the 2022 Birmingham Bowl at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell announced Monday that he is declaring for the NFL draft.

Mitchell has recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and ranks third in school history with 3,027 rushing yards.

“I want to thank my teammates who have been with me through the sacrifices and the grind,” Mitchell wrote on Instagram. “The blood, sweat, and tears. The wins and losses, and the summer/winter workouts. I thank y’all for bringing the best out of me and allowing me to be who I am today.

“… After lots of thoughts and consideration, I would like to make my dream come true and follow in my father’s footsteps…I AM ENTERING THE 2023 NFL Draft.”

Mitchell’s father, Anthony, was a defensive back who played six NFL seasons (2000-05) and was a member of the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning team in 2000.

Keaton Mitchell rushed for 1,452 yards this season, second most in school history. He finished the season with seven consecutive 100-yard outings, including 127 in the Pirates’ 53-29 rout of Coastal Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

Mitchell rushed for 14 scores this season and 25 in three seasons at East Carolina. He also had three receiving scores.

Mitchell rushed for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns in his 2021 breakout season.

–Field Level Media