USC All-American offensive tackle Matt Kalil is planning to enter the 2012… (Mark Comon / Getty Images )
USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil has decided to forgo a final season with the Trojans and will make himself available for the NFL draft, Kalil said Thursday night.
Kalil, a 6-foot-7 All-American left tackle, had been projected by some to be the first lineman taken if he declared for the April draft.
"It was definitely a tough decision because I love SC," Kalil said. "But it's a special opportunity. It's time to move on."
Kalil was one of four juniors weighing whether to turn pro or to return to the Trojans. Quarterback Matt Barkley, safety T.J. McDonald and end Nick Perry have not announced their decisions, though Perry is expected to turn pro.
Kalil, 22, said last month that he and Barkley would likely form a "double package" — both either turning pro or staying at USC. Barkley has said it would be a "big factor" but not the decider.
"Matt's going to do what's best for him," Kalil said Thursday.
Kalil said he had informed Coach Lane Kiffin about his decision.
"We had a heart to heart and he said he supports any decision I make," Kalil said.
Kalil said he was "in the process" of choosing an agent.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen, citing sources, first reported Kalil's decision Thursday.
Kalil, a former Anaheim Servite High standout, redshirted at USC in 2008 and played as a backup in 2009. He started the last two seasons and did not give up a sack in 2011.
Kalil is the brother of former USC All-American Ryan Kalil, who plays for the Carolina Panthers and signed a contract extension this year that will make him the highest-paid center in NFL history. Kalil's father, Frank, played at Arkansas and Arizona, and in the United States Football League.