Missouri's Henry Josey declares for draft

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | 3:42 p.m. CST; updated 9:26 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Missouri's Henry Josey rushes for second of three touchdowns during the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.

COLUMBIA — Henry Josey is headed to the National Football League.

Missouri’s redshirt junior running back announced his intentions Tuesday afternoon in a statement released by the school's athletic department.

“This is really a bittersweet decision to make,” Josey said. “I’m so grateful to Mizzou and my coaches and teammates and fans for all of their support and everything they’ve meant to me these past four years. It’s difficult to think I won’t be with them next year.”

Josey — the Tigers’ primary tailback this year — ran for three touchdowns in Missouri’s 41-31 Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State, including a go-ahead 16-yard scamper with 3:08 left in the game. He was named the Offensive Player of the Game.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder career will long be remembered for a gruesome knee injury in 2011 — which forced him to miss the entire 2012 season — as well as his inspiring comeback in 2013. He finished his college career with 2,771 rushing yards (fifth all-time at Missouri) and 31 total touchdowns (tied for sixth all-time).

“Henry Josey is a first-class person any way you cut it, and anytime you take that out of your program, it leaves a void,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in the statement. “The Mizzou Football program is in better shape because of his efforts, so we’re grateful for the time he spent with us, and we know he’ll represent Mizzou well going forward.”

The NFL Draft will be held from May 8-10. Josey’s biggest workouts before then will be his pro day at Missouri’s indoor practice complex (no date announced yet) and the NFL scouting combine (to which underclassmen have not yet been invited). ranks Josey as the 21st best running back prospect.

“I’m really excited to have a chance to play professionally and work on fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid,” Josey said. “I’m going to miss my teammates but I know they’ll do great things, and I will always be a Mizzou Tiger.”

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.

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