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Penn State left tackle Donovan Smith, an Owings Mills graduate, has declared for the NFL draft.
Penn State left tackle Donovan Smith, an Owings Mills graduate, has declared for the NFL draft. (Matthew O'Haren, USA Today Sports)

Penn State junior left tackle Donovan Smith has decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL draft, the Nittany Lions announced Monday.

An Owings Mills graduate, the 6-foot-5, 335-pound Smith started the last three years for Penn State at left tackle after redshirting as a freshman in 2011.

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Smith, who graduated with a degree in criminology earlier this month, was a preseason first-team All-Big Ten selection by USA Today and Lindy's this year.

CBSSports.com ranked Smith as the 13th-best tackle prospect among juniors.

"It seems like it was yesterday that I was sitting at the kitchen table talking with the greatest college football coach in history, Joseph Vincent Paterno," Smith, who grew up in New York before moving to Maryland, said in a statement. "I promised him and my family that I would get my degree. After achieving one of my life goals of receiving a degree from The Pennsylvania State University, I feel it's time to continue the pursuit of my dream of becoming [an] NFL player. The past four years have been a physical and emotional roller coaster, but have ultimately made me a better man.

"Thank you to my family, all of my teammates, coaches and the best fan base in college football for the best four years of my life. I am eternally grateful to you all. WE ARE!!!!"

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