MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Maxx Williams’ amazing touchdown against Missouri in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Thursday was his last as a Gophers football player.

Williams made it official Friday afternoon, announcing through the University of Minnesota that he will forego his final two years of college eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. NFL rules state the college players can’t leave their school for the draft until after their third year of college. Williams just finished his third year with the Gophers program as a redshirt sophomore.

The tight end finished the Citrus Bowl with seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. The score was a 54-yard play where he hurdled over two defenders trying to make low hits, and it had the nation talking about the Gophers on Thursday despite the 33-17 loss to the Tigers.

Williams was the Gophers leading receiver this year with 36 catches for 569 yards and eight touchdowns. His best game of the season came in a 51-14 win over Iowa, where he caught three touchdown passes. He also led Minnesota as a redshirt freshman with 25 catches, including five touchdowns.

Rumors of Williams, a Waconia, Minn., native, leaving for the NFL Draft started after he submitted his name to an NFL Draft advisory board. He could potentially be a first or second-round pick in the 2015 draft.

“We appreciate all that Maxx and his family have done for the program,” said Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. “They are great people and we wish nothing but the best for Maxx as he begins his professional career. Maxx has been an integral part in laying the foundation for our program and has helped move our team forward.”

Williams earned Second-Team All-America honors at tight end this year and was also a finalist for the Mackey Award, given each year to the nation’s top tight end. Williams was named one of the team’s three captains for next season at the team’s end-of-season banquet.

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