"After three years preparing with my teammates and coaches, I feel I'm ready to test myself at the next level," Armstead said in a prepared statement. "All the support I've received from Coach (Don) Pellum and Coach (Ron) Aiken, the rest of the Oregon coaches and staff and in my academics has prepared me to make this jump."
Armstead was one of the few bright spots for the Ducks in their loss to Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Despite being injured early in the game, he racked up nine tackles and recovered a key fumble that gave the team life in the second half.
At 6-foot-8, 290 pounds, Armstead is an intriguing player at the next level because of his length and ability to get to the quarterback. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, and many thought he was better suited to play left tackle, but he remained on defense for the Ducks and became a productive player. Armstead is also a former basketball player in college, and his athleticism could give his draft status a big boost.
"No. 9 is extremely gifted," one general manager told NFL Media's Albert Breer about the lineman in December. "He's a 6-foot-8, 290-pound freak."
In addition to a solid performance in the title game, Armstead was a key cog in Oregon's semifinal win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl, at times dominating several future draft picks along the Seminoles' offensive line. He also turned in a quality performance in the team's Pac-12 title game triumph and has seen his stock take off among scouts over the last month as he appeared to be fully healthy.
Armstead plans to begin training for the draft immediately before eventually returning to Eugene to complete his degree, according to the school. The official deadline for underclassmen to apply for early entry into the draft is Jan. 15.