Draft-eligible college players have another month to declare for the NFL draft, but USC defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and offensive tackle Tyron Smith couldn't wait.
The juniors, both first-team All-Pacific 10 Conference selections, are making themselves available for the April draft.
"I just felt it was the best time for me to do what I've wanted to do all my life," Casey said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
Smith's father Roy said his son met with Coach Lane Kiffin last week and had informed offensive line coach James Cregg of his decision to turn pro.
The departures come as no surprise.
Casey, 6 feet 1, 305 pounds, was projected as an NFL prospect before the season. The former Long Beach Poly High star made 67 tackles, including 41/2 sacks, and on Sunday was announced as the Trojans' most valuable player at the team's awards banquet.