Temple's Bernard Pierce joined a lengthy list of junior running backs making the jump to the 2012 NFL Draft.
A three-time First-Team All-MAC selection, Pierce rushed for 1,481 yards and a school-record 27 touchdowns in 2011. He is the No. 7 running back and No. 90 prospect overall, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com.
He joins Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman in announcing they will forgo their remaining eligibility - Miller and Hillman are redshirt sophomore. Still yet to make their announcements are Alabama's Trent Richardson, Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Oregon's LaMichael James.
Pierce closed out his career with 157 yards and three touchdowns against Army in the New Mexico Bwol, showing what he can do when healthy. But Pierce has been slowed by injuries in all three of his seasons, including hamstring tightness and a concussion in 2011.
Pierce was "Bernie" in the backfield dubbed the "Bernie and the Bug" show along with 170-pound junior Matt Brown.
"It has been a hard decision to make, and took a lot of soul-searching, but I believe that it is the right decision for me and my career," Pierce said in a statement. "I would like to take this time to thank Coach Steve Addazio, Coach Tyree Foreman, and all the staff here at Temple, for helping to shape and mold my football talent. I would like to thank Temple University for all the educational and athletic opportunities it has provided me."
Pierce leaves as the school's career leader with 53 rushing touchdowns and 54 overall.
"We want to thank Bernard for all that he has given to Temple football during his tenure," Owls coach Steve Addazio said. "We wish him great success at the next level, and we appreciate all that he has contributed to Temple University and the football program."