Kristen Finstad

Tennessee's Antonio Richardson To Enter NFL Draft

Created on Dec. 07, 2013 5:26 PM EST

Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson has decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

"After praying and talking it over with my family and coaches, I believe that now is the right time to make a statement about my future," Richardson said, according to "I have truly loved every moment of being a Tennessee Volunteer and will always be a Vol for life. As much as I have enjoyed my time at Tennessee, I have long dreamed of playing in the NFL and taking care of my family. After careful consideration, I have decided to forego my senior year and enter the 2014 NFL Draft."

The 5-7 Volunteers will need to replace the entire starting offensive and defensive line with the news of Richardson's departure.

Richardson has played 36 games in his three years with the team and was a crucial part of the offensive line that allowed the Vols to gain 2,261 rushing yards this season — the most by the team since 2004.

The offensive line allowed only 8 sacks in 2012, which helped earn Richardson second-team all-Southeastern Conference honors.

"I am grateful to all of my Tennessee coaches and everyone in the football program who made my life easier, from trainers to tutors to our fans, who are the best in the country," Richardson said. "I am ready for the next level and look forward to what I know will be an exciting challenge."

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