Kalil, Kiffin Talk About Tackle's NFL Decision

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Here is a statement from USC junior All-American offensive tackle Matt Kalil regarding his decision to skip his 2012 senior season and enter the NFL Draft, followed by a comment from USC head coach Lane Kiffin on Kalil's decision:

"The decision to leave USC after my junior year was not an easy one to make," said Kalil.  "I love this university.  That's why it took a while to decide.  I wanted to look at both sides of the decision and talk to a number of people.  Ultimately, I sat down with my family, including my father and brother who both know the pro football experience, and I made the decision that is best for me.

"I realize that if I came back to USC next season, I could be part of some special things here and potentially win a national championship.  That was very tempting. 

"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. 

"Now, I will find an agent who is best for me and I will work out until the draft. 

"I had great support from USC during this decision-making process.  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. 

"I also want to thank the great group of assistant coaches we have at USC, particularly offensive line coach James Cregg.  He turned what some said would be our team's weakness this year into a strength, to the point where we led the nation in fewest sacks allowed.  He constantly pushed me and made me strive for perfection.

"I was fortunate to play with a great group of teammates.  We had a special bond, which I'll never forget.  I am especially proud that we helped get USC back among the top teams in the nation.  The future here is very bright. 

"I also want to thank the entire USC family.  There are none better than Trojan fans.  So many told me they would support whatever decision I made.  I really appreciate that."

Said Kiffin:  "All of us at USC wish Matt Kalil the best as he takes this next step in his career.  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. 

"Matt is an outstanding player who had an exceptional career at USC.  He also is a very coachable and intelligent athlete and is a high-character person who comes from a wonderful family. 

"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."

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