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Suggs, McDonald leaving ASU for pros

Jan. 2, 2003 at 8:56 PM   |   Comments

TEMPE, Ariz., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Defensive end Terrell Suggs and wide receiver Shaun McDonald will forego their remaining eligibility at Arizona State and enter the NFL Draft.

Both would be seniors next fall.

Their decisions, first reported by ESPN Wednesday, were confirmed at a news conference Thursday attended by Coach Dirk Koetter.

Suggs likely was the best defensive player in the nation, and was honored as such, earning three major awards -- the Ted Hendricks, the Nagurski, and the Lombardi, as well as being named Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-10.

He had an NCAA record 24 sacks this season to go along with 31 1/2 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

"My parents always tell me to aim for the moon, so if you miss at least you'll be among the stars," Suggs said. "I never thought it would blow up like it did. I always strive for greatness, but it's definitely done a great thing for me."

He said his decision was difficult.

"It was very hard," Suggs said. "I mean it came down to last night with my parents and everybody it was kind of like the final say last night. It was a very hard decision especially to leave some things undone."

"It's a sad day in the aspect that we are losing a tremendous player and a great team guy, but yet it's also a proud day because, like Terrell said, this has been a goal of his to play in the NFL and he is certainly ready to go," Koetter said. "He's going to be a great professional player and a great representative of Arizona State. You can't replace a guy like that because, from a player standpoint, it's going to be a great challenge for some of our younger guys to step up and get a chance to show what they can do."

Suggs, who hails from Chandler, Az., now holds ASU records for single season sacks, career sacks (44), single-season tackles for loss (31.5), and career tackles for loss (65.5).

He also led the Sun Devils in sacks and tackles for loss in each of three seasons in Tempe.

McDonald, a finalist for the 2002 Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wideout, hauled in a school-record 87 passes for a 1,405 yards, another record. His 13 touchdown catches rank second on the single season books at ASU, one shy of Doug Allen's 14 in 1984.

For his career, McDonald, who will graduate in May, compiled 2,867 yards, just 126 shy of the record 2,993 compiled by Collegiate Hall of Fame inductee John Jefferson from 1974-77. His 24 career touchdown grabs also rank third at ASU, one behind the 25 posted by Keith Poole (1993-96) and Doug Allen (1981-84).

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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