Virginia Tech running back Deshawn McClease declares for NFL draft

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Virginia Tech running back Deshawn McClease announced Monday he will forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft.

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McClease could have returned as a sixth-year senior after receiving a medical redshirt early on in his career.

"To my teammates and brothers, I cannot begin to express the joy that I get knowing that we have built a bond that will last a lifetime," McClease said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. " As you attack the 2020 season understand that if it were easy, everyone would do it. Do everything with purpose."

The running back played in 37 games at Tech, rushing for 1,833 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns.

The 2019 season was by far his best, capped off with a career-high 126 rushing yards in a Belk Bowl loss to Kentucky.

McClease's departure means you can probably expect an expanded role for rising sophomore Keshawn King in 2020.

King played in 11 games as a freshman this past season, rushing for 4.3 yards per carry and two touchdowns.

Tech will also hope to get redshirt junior Jalen Holston back healthy, after he missed nearly the entire season due to injury.

You can also expect to see fresh faces like Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert and JuCo transfer Marco Lee make an impact in the Hokies' backfield without McClease next season.

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