Ball State wide receiver Willie Snead, who was third nationally in receiving yardage this season, will bypass his senior season and turn pro, the school announced Tuesday.
Snead finished the season with 106 catches (tied for seventh nationally) for 1,516 receiving yards (third) and 15 touchdown receptions (tied for third). All three of those marks set single-season school records. He had 12 catches of at least 30 yards this season, a number that cfbstats.com shows is tied for 10th-most in the nation.
Snead (5-foot-11, 193 pounds) caught at least five passes in each of Ball State's 13 games this season and caught at least nine in seven contests. He had nine 100-yard games and had at least one TD reception in 10 games. He caught 195 passes, for 24 TDs, in the past two seasons.
Snead lacks speed, but he runs solid routes, has good hands and knows how to get open. He is a third-day prospect who, despite his production, could go undrafted because of his lack of speed.
Ball State is losing four-year starting quarterback Keith Wenning, who threw for 4,148 yards and 35 TDs this season, and his departure may have played a role in Snead's decision.
He played high school ball for his dad at Muskegon (Mich.) Heights, where he was a state player of the year as a quarterback. He began his high school career at powerhouse Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central before his dad, Willie Snead III, left Glades Central for Muskegon Heights. The elder Snead played wide receiver at Virginia and Florida in the early 1980s.
"We appreciate Willie's contributions to our program and wish him well as he pursues his dream of competing at the highest level," Ball State coach Pete Lembo said in a release. "We have encouraged Willie to formulate a plan to complete his degree requirements."