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Defensive end Lonnie Phelps sacks Riley Leonard of Duke during the second half of the game on Saturday, Sept. 24. The Jayhawks defeated the Blue Devils 35-27.

After leading the Jayhawks with seven sacks this season, Kansas redshirt-junior defensive end Lonnie Phelps has declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Phelps, who announced the decision on social media Thursday evening, was a crucial part of the Kansas defense, finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 57.

“I want to use this message to thank my parents, family and friends,” Phelps said. “Without my teammates and coaches from Miami University in Ohio and the University of Kansas, I would not have the cherished memories of our time together.”

Phelps finished as an All-Big 12 second-team selection by coaches and the AP this season. This was Phelps’ first season at Kansas after playing the previous three years at Miami University at Ohio.

He was one of the most productive players for the Jayhawk’s defense, even while playing through an injury for some of this season. The loss will leave a hole to fill in a Kansas defense that already struggled for much of the 2022 season.  

The NFL Draft will begin on April 27 in Kansas City. 

“My dream is to play football on Sundays, and I am now in position to do so,” Phelps said.