Sheldon Richardson leaves Missouri to apply for NFL draft

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has announced his intention to apply for entry into the NFL draft, according to the University of Missouri's website.

Richardson, a junior, will forego his final year of collegiate eligibility.

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"This has been my dream ever since I was a little kid," Richardson said in a statement released through the Mizzou website. "It's still not easy leaving Mizzou like this, but I know I'm ready. I really appreciate all of the support I got here at Mizzou, and I know that they will help me and my family with this next step. I'll always be a Tiger."

Richardson had a breakout season for the Tigers in 2012, leading all Southeastern Conference defensive tackles and ranking second on the Mizzou team overall with 75 tackles.

The St. Louis, Mo. native played in 11 games (starting all 11), and added 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 quarterback sacks this season, while also forcing three fumbles, recovering two, breaking up three passes and blocking one kick.

For his Tiger career, Richardson saw action in 24 games. He had 13 starts, and made 112 tackles.