Long leaving school early, declares for NFL Draft

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - 3:20pm

Cornerback David Long started all 13 games each of the past two seasons.

Cornerback David Long started all 13 games each of the past two seasons. Buy this photo
Evan Aaron/Daily

Three days after junior cornerback Lavert Hill announced his decision to return to Michigan for his senior season, his counterpart, David Long, has opted to declare for the NFL draft.

Long, a first-team All-Big Ten defensive back this season and honorable mention in 2017, joins Rashan Gary and Devin Bush Jr. as Wolverines who have announced they are leaving school early to pursue the pros.

Being a student-athlete at Michigan has been one of the greatest honors of my life, Long wrote on Instagram and Twitter. From the day that I stepped foot on campus in Ann Arbor, I have felt everything that makes this place so unique and special. I am grateful to coach (Jim) Harbaugh for giving me the opportunity to experience this tremendous journey. I am grateful to coach (Don) Brown and (defensive backs) coach (Mike) Zordich and all the coaches that have positively impacted my life.

I know that great things are ahead for Michigan football. I also know that my ultimate dream has always been to play in the NFL. As such, I am choosing to pursue that dream and officially declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Prior to Saturday’s 41-15 Peach Bowl defeat to Florida, Long stated that he had not submitted for an NFL grade, and that he had not yet made a decision about his future. That decision did not ultimately factor into him playing in the bowl game.

Long finished this season with 17 tackles, eight pass break-ups and an interception. The California native was a two-year starter, playing in all 13 games both seasons.

With Long’s departure and the graduation of fifth-year senior Brandon Watson, sophomore Ambry Thomas is slated as the next man up to replace him. The secondary had five scholarship players redshirt in the 2018 season, and will also see the return of Benjamin St-Juste from injury.