Maryland running back Javon Leake will forgo his final season of eligibility to declare for the NFL draft, he announced Wednesday.

“From the day I stepped foot on campus and into Maryland’s locker room, I knew something special was in my future,” Leake wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter. “The friendships I have created along my journey with my teammates is something I will cherish forever.”

Leake’s announcement came the day after fellow running back Anthony McFarland Jr. also said he would enter the NFL draft.

Leake emerged as the Terps’ leading rusher while McFarland was hampered by a lingering ankle injury. Leake, a junior, ran for 736 yards, more than doubling his sophomore production. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry.

“The type of season that Javon has had, he has been one of the guys that I’ve seen really mature and become the type of player and the person that we need our players to be,” Coach Michael Locksley said last week.

Leake scored eight rushing touchdowns and added two more on kickoff returns. He tied the school record for career kickoffs returned for touchdowns with three. Leake was recently named the Big Ten’s return specialist of the year.

Leake surpassed the 100-yard benchmark twice, rushing for 107 yards against Syracuse and 158 yards against Indiana. He was among Maryland’s most reliable players during the disappointing 2019 campaign, but he had a few costly turnovers. He fumbled on a late drive against Indiana, a game Maryland lost, 34-28. Leake also had three fumbles against Nebraska. But for the most part, Leake has remained a bright spot on this team that struggled in many areas.

The absences of McFarland and Leake will hurt the Terps’ running backs group. Together, McFarland and Leake accounted for about 66 percent of the team’s rushing production.

Fellow running backs Lorenzo Harrison III and Jake Funk are returning options, but both missed most of this season with knee injuries. Tayon Fleet-Davis served as Maryland’s third-string running back, but he was recently charged with driving while impaired and missed the final two games. It’s not clear how that will impact his availability next season. Maryland has a pair three-star running backs committed in the class of 2020: Peny Boone from Michigan and Ebony Jackson from Georgia.

Read more: