Defensive tackle Brian Price, calling it a "difficult decision," officially said goodbye to UCLA during a news conference Wednesday.
Price, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound junior, had said after the Bruins' victory over Temple in the EagleBank Bowl on Dec. 29 that he planned to enter the NFL draft.
He explained that "after talking to my family and coaches, I have the feeling that I'm ready."
Price is projected to be a first-round pick as the draft's third-best defensive tackle behind Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy.
Price finished with 23.5 tackles for losses this season, second in UCLA history. He also ranks second in career tackles for losses with 44.5.
"It was obvious over the course of the season that he was a dominant player," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Teams began tracking when he left games before they would start taking shots downfield because they would have a better chance to go deep.
"What the NFL will get is an explosive player, an aggressive player who plays upfield rather than just filling gaps."
Price will not return to school this semester in order to train for scouting combines.
"I will come back to get my degree," Price said. "It can take me a long way after football, and it will make my mom and sisters proud."
Neuheisel will meet with Stanley Hasiak this weekend, but the freshman offensive lineman is unlikely to rejoin the team, according to a source within the program who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to comment on the situation.
Hasiak was sent home to Hawaii by Neuheisel before the EagleBank Bowl after a number of confrontations with teammates during practice.