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Purdue's Butler to go pro

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Junior offensive tackle Kelly Butler of Purdue joined the increasing list of underclassmen who will forego his remaining college eligibility to turn pro.

Butler, a 6-foot-8, 320-pounder from Grand Rapids, Mich., started all 38 games at right tackle over the last three seasons.

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"I've had a great time at Purdue, but I believe it is in my best interest to move forward with my football career," Butler said.

"He and I discussed his situation, so his decision is not a surprise," said Coach Joe Tiller. "(He) has been a fixture for us on the offensive line. We wish Kelly the best in his future on and off the field."

There is no word about how high Butler will be drafted, but based on today's NFL offensive linemen, his size could be an advantage.

He joins other underclassmen, including running backs Kevin Jones of Virginia Tech and Stephen Jackson of Oregon State, tight end Kellen Winslow of Miami (Fla.), and cornerback Chris Gamble of Ohio State.

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