Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes intends to apply for early eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
Mahomes announced his decision at a news conference on Tuesday.
"After talking with coach (Kliff) Kingsbury and my family, we feel this is the best decision for me moving forward," Mahomes' statement read in part.
Mahomes will be an intriguing and potentially maddening evaluation for NFL scouts uncertain of whether he can adapt from Texas Tech's Air Raid offense to a pro-style system. The junior's production has been other-worldly in two-plus seasons as a starter for the Red Raiders in a system that kept him in the shotgun formation full-time and afforded him an average of 49 pass attempts per game. This year, he completed 388 of 591 passes for an FBS-leading 5,052 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Mahomes is also athletic enough to escape the pass rush and extend plays, and NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote earlier this season that he has the physical traits NFL scouts look for. However, according to an AFC scout, concerns about his offensive transition are so great, "it's like he's playing a different sport."
College underclassmen face a Jan. 16 deadline to apply for early draft eligibility.
He's amassed more than 11,000 career yards for the Red Raiders, though the program's dismal defense has rendered his career record as a starter at 12-17. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has compared Mahomes (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) to Dallas Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott, against whom Gundy coached in 2013.
Mahomes is the son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Pat Mahomes.