Michigan defensive end Shantee Orr has declared himself eligible for the 2003 NFL Draft.

Orr, a redshirt junior, is on pace to graduate this spring with a degree in movement science.

“He came to graduate and play football,” said Steven Fishman, Orr’s attorney. “And he’s done both of those things.”

If Orr does not sign with an agent, he has the option to return to school for his senior season.

Orr’s last football season didn’t produce a storybook ending to his career as a Wolverine. The Detroit native hurt his right knee in the Utah game Sept. 21, and did not play again until Oct. 19 against Purdue.

Orr came back to help the defensive line in the second half of the season, but he was not the same player as before the injury. In 11 games, Orr racked up 24 tackles and six sacks, tying his career-high from the 2001 season. He was named to the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention team this season by the coaches after making the second team in 2001.

“He’s doing what’s best for him,” Michigan cornerback Marlin Jackson said. “He’ll do fine (in the NFL).”

Next year’s Michigan defense will be without six starters from this season’s unit. But Jackson isn’t worried about the defense without Orr and the five seniors that will graduate with him.

“We’ll be fine,” Jackson said. “We still got (juniors) Larry Stevens and Alain Kashama.”

Orr could not be reached for comment.

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