Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s best defensive player earlier this week. The junior declared for the 2021 NFL draft Thursday.
He will not play in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
“In support of my family and my dreams, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the 2021 NFL draft, and I am turning my focus towards preparation for this dream,” Collins wrote on social media. “I wish all my teammates the best of luck in the Armed Forces Bowl.”
Collins totaled 54 tackles, 11.5 for loss, and four interceptions. He had a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tulane in overtime.
Collins finished as the runner-up to Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah for the Butkus Award, which honors the nation’s best linebacker.