UT running back John Kelly declares for 2018 NFL Draft

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- According to a post to University of Tennessee running back John Kelly's Instagram account Friday, the junior player decided to forego his senior year playing for the Vols and instead declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.

"From my time in Detroit to my collegiate career at Tennessee, words can't express my gratitude to everyone that has helped me throughout my journey," Kelly said in the post.

Kelly said he will "always call Neyland Stadium home," explaining, "As I take the next step in my career, I will never forget where it all began. Detroit and Tennessee will always be a part of me at every step of this journey and I promise to always represent you well. With everything you've given to me, that's the least I can do for you all."

Career highs for Kelly include 19 rushes (2x) against Georgia Tech and at Florida; 141 rushing yards at Florida; four touchdowns versus Georgia Tech; six receptions at Florida; 96 receiving yards at Florida; 237 all-purpose yards at Florida, and one fumble recovery versus Georgia.

Kelly's announcement comes before new head coach Jeremy Pruitt begins his time at Tennessee in the 2018 season.

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft and thank so many that were instrumental in getting me to where I am today. From my time in Detroit to my collegiate career at Tennessee, words can’t express my gratitude to everyone that has helped me throughout my journey. To my friends and family, I want to thank you for always being there for me. To my teammates, and coaching staff, I want to thank you for always pushing me to better myself and grow on and off the field. To Vol Nation, I want to thank you for all of your support through all of the highs and lows. I will always call Neyland Stadium home. As I take the next step in my career, I will never forget where it all began. Detroit and Tennessee will always be a part of me at every step of this journey and I promise to always represent you well. With everything you’ve given to me, that’s the least I can do for you all. From the bottom of my heart - thank you, all. Go Vols!

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