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Oregon All-American S Verone McKinley III enters NFL draft

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Oregon's Verone McKinley III comes up with an interception at the goal line against Stony Brook during the second quarter.Eug 091821 Oregonfb 12
Oregon’s Verone McKinley III comes up with an interception at the goal line against Stony Brook during the second quarter.Eug 091821 Oregonfb 12

Oregon Ducks consensus All-American safety Verone McKinley III announced Sunday that he is entering the NFL draft.

McKinley tied for the national lead with six interceptions this season. He also had 77 tackles, six for loss. In four seasons, he had 11 interceptions in 38 games with Oregon.

“Once a Duck, always a Duck!” McKinley said in his announcement on Twitter. “I’m excited about the future and what lies ahead. So, after much thought, prayer, family discussion and preparation, I have decided to forego my remaining years of eligibility and pursue my lifelong dream by declaring myself eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft.”

McKinley, out of Hebron High in Carrollton, Texas, becomes the fourth Oregon player to announce that he’s leaving early for the NFL draft since coach Mario Cristobal left for Miami and a 10-year, $80-million contract on Dec. 6.

He joins defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, cornerback Mykael Wright and wide receiver Devon Williams in leaving with college eligibility remaining. McKinley was the only one of the four to play with the Ducks in the Alamo Bowl, a 47-32 loss to Oklahoma.

McKinley was named a first-team All-American by five organizations and a second-team choice by two others. He was first-team All-Pac-12 and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which was won by Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant.

–Field Level Media