Michigan will be without cornerback David Long next season after he announced Wednesday his intention to purse his NFL dreams.
Long, a first-team All-Big Ten selection this season by the coaches, had an interception and eight pass breakups. Cornerback Lavert Hill last week announced he will return to Michigan for his senior year. Ambry Thomas likely will be the favorite to replace Long at cornerback next fall.
In his statement released on social media, Long, from Los Angeles, called being at Michigan “one of the greatest honors of my life” and he thanked coach Jim Harbaugh for the opportunity, and position coach Mike Zordich and defensive coordinator Don Brown for their impact on his life.
“I know that great things are ahead for Michigan football,” Long wrote. “I also know that my ultimate dream has always been to play in the NFL. As such, I am choosing to pursue that dream and officially declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.
“I have enjoyed every moment of my time at Michigan and will continue to be a proud Michigan supporter until the end of time.”
Long thanked his teammates and the Michigan fans, as well.
Before Michigan’s Peach Bowl appearance last Saturday, Long said he was weighing his options for next year and said he did not submit for an NFL grade to get a ballpark idea where he could be drafted. He said Harbaugh does not persuade the players one way or the other regarding their futures.
“I know if I’m ready, I know if I’m not ready,” Long said last week.
He said not playing in the bowl game was never a consideration.
“There was a lot of speculation whether I’d play, but I’ve always intended on playing in the game and finishing out the season,” Long said, adding players make decisions for what’s best for them.
“It’s just another game I can play. Everybody has their reasons. I don’t think about the pros and cons. I’m able to play in the game, so I just play. Other people had different things at stake and different opportunities, and I understand the reasons why.”
Long is the third player from Michigan's defense to forgo his final year of eligibility. Defensive end Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush also declared for the NFL Draft, sitting out the Peach Bowl.