Auburn redshirt sophomore Peyton Barber is leaving the Tigers and heading for the NFL. Barber made the surprising announcement today forgoing his last two years at Auburn to enter the NFL Draft.

“I have decided to forego my eligibility at Auburn and enter the 2016 NFL Draft. This was a very tough decision for many reasons but after my family and I prayed about it, I know I am ready for the next step and that this is the best decision for me. Auburn is a special place and having the opportunity to play football at Auburn has been a dream come true. I am close to graduating, so I will continue to work towards my degree even as I pursue my dream to play in the NFL. I would like to thank all of my coaches and all of the support staff at Auburn, especially Coach (Gus) Malzahn, Coach (Rhett) Lashlee and Coach (Tim) Horton. Thank you to all of my teammates as well. Lastly, thank you to the best fans in the world! I will always be an Auburn Tiger. War Eagle!”

Barber had two more years he likely could’ve spent as the starter under Gus Malzhan but family matter pushed him to the NFL. With Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson going down with injuries Barber emerged as a star in the Auburn offense. He blistered San Jose State for 147 yards and five touchdowns in October. Three weeks later Barber went hog wild against Arkansas for 120 yards and four TDs.

The Auburn running back eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark on the season during the Birmingham Bowl against Memphis in December.

Barber will join Auburn offensive linemen Shon Coleman and Avery Young who also declared for the draft earlier this month.

There are over a dozen underclassmen running backs that have declared for April’s draft. It’s thought that Barber won’t get drafted until the third or fourth round at the earliest. It’s also possible that he go on the last day or go undrafted. A team that needs help at running back like the Cowboys or Titans might take chance on him late in the draft to bolster their ranks at running back.