Jeffery, Gilmore plan to leave USC, enter NFL Draft

Alshon Jeffery says, "I'm ready for the next step." Jeffery plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

Columbia, SC (WACH) - South Carolina football players Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore plan to give up their final season of eligibility and enter the 2012 NFL Draft, ESPN reported Thursday.

Jeffery, a junior wide receiver who won MVP honors in the Capital One Bowl, told ESPN's Joe Schad "I'm ready for the next step."

In a statement released by USC, Jeffery said, "I plan to forgo my senior season and enter the NFL Draft. I would like to thank the fans, my teammates, Coach Spurrier and everyone involved for all the opportunities South Carolina has provided me. I am proud to say I will always be a Gamecock."

Schad also reported that Gilmore, a junior defensive back, will also turn pro.

In the Capital One Bowl, Jeffery had four catches for 148 yards and a touchdown, while Gilmore had an interception and five tackles in the Gamecocks' victory over Nebraska.

The players have the right to change their minds by January 14 in order to return school as long as they do not have representation by an agent.