IOWA CITY — T.J. Hockenson announced Monday he is following teammates Amani Hooker, Anthony Nelson and Noah Fant into the NFL.
The university also announced the departures.
“Amani, Anthony and T.J. have been outstanding members of our team on the field and as leaders within the program,” Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said in a release. “While we are disappointed to see them leave, we recognize this is an important decision and we wish them the very best as they pursue the draft.”
The Iowa football program under Ferentz has sent 170 players to the NFL, including 66 draft picks and 104 free agents. At least one Hawkeye has been selected in the NFL Draft every year since 1978. In the past 11 seasons, 40 Hawkeyes have been taken in the NFL Draft, including four first round selections.
Hockenson and Fant are both tight ends, Hooker is a defensive back and Nelson a defensive end. Nelson has played three seasons after redshirting in 2015. Hooker played as a true freshman. Hockenson redshirted in 2016 before seeing action the past two seasons.
“After tremendous thought and consideration, I have made the decision to declare for the 2019 NFL draft,” Hockenson wrote on social media. “This was a very difficult decision because of the love and respect I have for the University of Iowa, Coach Kirk Ferentz and the entire coaching staff, along with my teammates.
“However, my dream has always been to play in the NFL and I believe now is the right time.”
Hockenson also thanked all who helped him “become a better player and person,” as well as his family.
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“I look forward to this next chapter and grateful that I was first and always will be an Iowa Hawkeye,” he wrote.
Hockenson finished his sophomore season with 49 receptions for 760 yards and six touchdowns.
Iowa finished the 2018 season 9-4 overall and ranked 25th in the final Associated Press poll following a 27-22 win over No. 18 Mississippi State at the 2019 Outback Bowl.