West Virginia University football redshirt junior linebacker David Long Jr. has announced he is forgoing his senior season with the Mountaineers and will enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
“First off, I would like to thank God because without him, none of this would have been possible,” Long Jr. tweeted earlier this morning. “Since arriving in Morgantown, it has been the best thing that has happened to me. I am grateful and honored to have played for this great program and state. You took me in as family, and I have gave my all in return. I wouldn’t change if for the world.
“I would like to thank Coach (Dana) Holgorsen and Coach (Tony) Gibson for giving me a chance that not many people get. Thank you for staying on me and coaching me to be the best player and person I can be. I am very grateful for everything.
“With that being said, I have talked with family and prayed it over numerous times, and I have decided to forgo my senior year and enter the 2019 NFL Draft. This has been my dream since I was young, and I thank everyone that has supported me along the way. I will continue to represent this great state and program wherever I go.”
Long Jr., one of WVU’s team captains, was the 2018 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press, Athlon Sports, Phil Steele and The Athletic’s All-America second teams.
“As I have said all year, David Long is one of the best, if not the best linebacker, in the nation,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He has been a leader for our team on and off the field for several years and he is prepared to take that next step. We are proud of David and what he has meant to this program, especially that he is leaving here with his degree. We wish David the best for future success in all he does.”
Long Jr. led WVU in tackles for loss (19) and tied the program’s single-season record. He led the Mountaineers with 111 total tackles on the season, including a team-leading 76 solo stops and a team-leading eight sacks. He also had a forced fumble and recovered a fumble.
Long Jr. ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and tied for No. 9 nationally in tackles for loss this season, and he ranks No. 2 in the league and tied for No. 7 in solo tackles. He is No. 4 in the Big 12 in total tackles and No. 42 nationally and is No. 5 in the conference in sacks and No. 34 in the country.
Long Jr. graduated in December with his bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies.