North Carolina running back Elijah Hood reversed course on Friday by announcing that he was declaring for the NFL draft.
Two-plus weeks ago, Hood was intending to remain in school and play his senior season.
"This was a difficult decision, but after gathering more information and talking with my family, I believe it is in my best interest to declare for the NFL draft and pursue my dream of being a professional football player," Hood said in a statement. "While I'll miss playing with my teammates in Chapel Hill, I'm excited about my future opportunity.
"I would like to thank Coach (Larry) Fedora, the coaching staff and all Carolina fans for understanding how difficult it was to come to this decision. This program is on the rise because of the great people at UNC. I'm going to continue to pursue my degree from UNC and I'm proud to say I will always be a Tar Heel."
Hood is considered to be a middle-round pick in the draft.
Hood finishes his college career as the ninth-leading rusher in North Carolina history with 2,580 yards. He rushed for 29 touchdowns, which ranks sixth.
Hood ran for 858 yards this season while battling injuries. He missed the Tar Heels' loss to Stanford in the Sun Bowl.
"Elijah is a special individual who meant so much to this program during his time in Chapel Hill," Fedora said in a statement. "He is an excellent student, a standout football player and a first-class person who made the most of his opportunity at Carolina. We support his decision to further his career at the next level and wish him the best as he pursues his dream to play in the NFL. He helped change the culture in our football program and it was an honor to coach him for three seasons."
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky has yet to announce whether he will remain in school or enter the draft. He is rated the second-best quarterback and 20th overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com.