Kalil, Perry to Forgo Senior Season, Enter NFL Draft
USC has lost its best offensive and defensive lineman to the NFL.
Thursday, junior offensive tackle Matt Kalil informed the coaching staff that he would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Perry was a two-year starter who led the Trojan's in sacks with 9.5 this season. He is projected to go in the late first or early second round.
USC coach Lane Kiffin released a statement Saturday evening, saying: "We counseled Nick throughout his decision-making process and we stand behind him on this decision. His career progression at USC continued climbing to a point where he was ready to make the jump to the NFL. He was an awesome pass rushing for us and he created havoc throughout the Pac-12 this year in a league that featured many of the nation's most dangerous passing offenses.
"We value Nick's time and efforts at USC and appreciate the standard he set for the defensive linemen who will follow him here. We wish him much future success and know he'll be another great Trojan in the NFL."
Kalil was a first-team all-American this past season, and did not allow a sack while playing the offensive line's most important position.
"But in my research, I came to the conclusion that I can be the No. 1 tackle drafted and you can't go any higher than that. Now is the right time to go. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I have to take it."
The Corona, Calif. native is projected by numerous draft services to be the No. 2 overall pick, behind Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
"I had great support from USC during this decision-making process," Kalil said. "Pat Haden, our athletic director, was one of my biggest supporters. We will work together so that I come back in the off-season to finish my degree.
"I want to thank coach Lane Kiffin, who gave me great input in this process and told me he would support whatever decision I made. He trusted me at left tackle and that allowed me to be in the incredible situation I am in today."
ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported Kalil's decision Thursday night.
While Kalil's departure will leave a huge hole in the Trojan's offensive line, Kiffin said he supported the decision.
"All of us at USC wish Matt Kalil the best as he takes this next step in his career," Kiffin said. "Matt was thorough in his research and made a decision that is the right one for him. We fully support that decision and we told him so. He is ready for the NFL. He will be a very high draft pick and will have a long, successful career.
"We will miss him next year, but will cheer him on as a rookie in the NFL. We know he will represent USC very well."