Defensive end Nick Perry opts for the pros

USC junior defensive end Nick Perry has declared for the 2012 NFL draft.

It was announced that the 6-foot-3 defensive lineman would follow fellow junior offensive tackle Matt Kalil, opting to go pro.

“We counseled Nick throughout his decision-making process and we stand behind him on this decision,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “He was an awesome pass rushing for us and he created havoc throughout the Pac-12 this year in a league that featured many of the nation’s most dangerous passing offenses.”

Defensive end Nick Perry tackles Arizona quarterback Nick Foles in the Oct. 1 home game. Perry has decided to enter the 2012 NFL draft. - Luciano Nunez | Daily Trojan

In 2011, Perry had 55 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Perry led the Pac-12 conference with 9.5 sacks.

Perry started nine games at defensive end during the 2010 season. He had 25 tackles, including 7.5 for losses (with 4 sacks), plus three deflections, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Perry was used as a pass rusher, appearing in all 13 games. Perry had 24 tackles and eight sacks. He made the 2009 Football Writers Freshman All-American first team, Sporting News Freshman All-American first team, Phil Steele’s Freshman All-American first team, Freshman All-American first team, Pac-10 All-Freshman first team and Sporting News Pac-10 All-Freshman first team.

“We value Nick’s time and efforts at USC and appreciate the standard he set for the defensive linemen who will follow him here,” Kiffin said. “We wish him much future success and know he’ll be another great Trojan in the NFL.”

Two of the four draft eligible juniors have declared for the NFL draft. Safety T.J. McDonald and quarterback Matt Barkley have not announced their decisions. Players have until mid-January to declare for the draft.