COLUMBIA, Mo. - Junior running back Henry Josey will declare for the NFL draft, Missouri announced today in a statement. He is the second Mizzou junior to forgo his final year of eligibility, joining Kony Ealy as Tiger underclassmen to bolt for the NFL.
"This is really a bittersweet decision to make," Josey said in a statement. "I'm so grateful to Mizzou and my coaches and teammates and fans for all of their support and everything they've meant to me these past four years. It's difficult to think I won't be with them next year."
Josey rushed for 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns this season after suffering a horrific knee injury in 2011. He sat out 659 days before starring in Missouri's 2013 opener against Murray State, making him one of the great comeback stories in college football.
"I can't possibly express how much I owe to so many people for helping me get to this position, my doctors, trainers, strength coaches, everyone who pushed me and helped me and believed in me, and of course my coaches for trusting me," said Josey. "To the Mizzou fans, thanks so much for all of your prayers and thoughts the past couple of years, you truly inspired me to get back on the field. "
"Henry Josey is a first-class person any way you cut it, and anytime you take that out of your program, it leaves a void," Head Coach Gary Pinkel said in the statement. "He is such an amazing competitor, and I've said time and again just how inspiring he has been for our team the last two years. We were so proud of him for overcoming everything he had to deal with, and to be such a positive influence on and off the field."
The Angleton, Texas native was the Cotton Bowl's offensive player of the game, rushing for 92 yards and three touchdowns against Oklahoma State. The Tigers beat the Cowboys 41-31 to secure their second Cotton Bowl title in six years.