|J Pat Carter/Associated Press|
|North Carolina center Russell Bodine is headed for the NFL.|
North Carolina lost its second junior to the draft, as center Russell Bodine announced Monday that he is turning pro.
He joins Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron in leaving early. Ebron is considered the best player available at his position; that's not the case with Bodine, who is the second junior center to declare, joining USC's Marcus Martin.
"It's been a dream of mine to play in the NFL and I feel I'm ready to take the next step in my playing career," Bodine said in a release from the school. "I have been thinking about this for several weeks, weighing all my options and discussing it with my parents and the coaching staff. I feel it is the right time to move forward. ... I've had the opportunity to play in both a pro-style offense and a spread offense, and I think that will enhance my opportunities at the next level."
Bodine (6-foot-4, 310 pounds), a fourth-year junior, was a two-year starter for the Heels. He adjusted quickly to the Tar Heels' new fast-paced offense in 2012 and had no issues with shotgun snaps. He has excellent technique and is athletic; he has been clocked as fast as 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Bodine, who also can play guard, was an honorable mention All-ACC selection this season. UNC had two new starting guards this season, and Bodine didn't play as well as he did in 2012, when he had NFL draft picks Travis Bond (seventh round by the Vikings) and Jonathan Cooper (first round by the Cardinals) lined up on each side of him.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.