Aggies' Joeckel leaving early for NFL Draft

Aggies' Joeckel leaving early for NFL Draft
January 8, 2013, 4:30 pm
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We all know about the stellar, record-breaking season Heisman trophy winning Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel had. We also know how important a left tackle is in a quarterback’s success, and next year, Manziel will be without his star protector on his blind side.

The 2012 Outland Trophy winner and consensus All-American junior left tackle Luke Joeckel is leaving a year early for the 2013 NFL Draft. Projected to be a top-10 pick and even the top pick by some outlets, the announcement comes as no surprise and is one Aggieland has been dreading.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Joeckel said as he traveled to Omaha to take part in the Outland Trophy ceremonies. “I have thought long and hard and visited with my family and coaches. I feel it is in my best interest to come out. I appreciate all that Texas A&M has done for me and my family. It is tough to leave a great group of coaches and players, including my twin brother Matt. I know they will have a great season in 2013 and I will remain their biggest fan.”

His decision comes less than a week after the Aggies’ season-ending 41-13 win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.

After enrolling early at Texas A&M in January 2010 to participate in spring drills, the 6-6, 310 Joeckel started his very first game as a true freshman at left tackle and has started every game of his Aggie career since at that position -- 39 straight.

“Luke is projected to be one of the top players selected in the overall draft,” Aggie head football coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We appreciate everything he has done for Aggie football and Texas A&M and wish him well in the NFL.”

“I am 27 hours short of my degree from the Mays Business School and I have every intention of finishing as soon as possible,” Joeckel said. “One thing that is certain, I am an Aggie and will always be an Aggie.”

Joeckel, along with junior Jake Matthews who is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, formed one of the best tackle tandems in the country, and now Aggieland awaits Matthews’ decision as well.