Southern Mississippi linebacker Gerald McRath has declared himself eligible for the 2009 NFL draft and will forgo his final season of eligibility, the school says.
McRath, who recently finished his junior year, recorded 137 tackles (78 solos) this past season. He has 386 career tackles (214 solos, 172 assists) to go along with 32.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
A native of Powder Springs, Ga., McRath received numerous awards at USM, including the 2007 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.
If McRath does not sign with an agent or decides to return for his final season, he must submit by letter to the NFL his intention to return to school by midnight on Jan. 18,