North Carolina Tar Heels running back Gio Bernard has decided to enter the NFL Draft. The announcement came on Friday morning and the school has scheduled a news conference with head coach Larry Fedora later this afternoon.
Bernard led the conference in rushing, all-purpose yards, scoring, and punt-return average, while earning All American and first team All-ACC honors in 2012. Bernard is just a sophomore, but is eligible for the draft because he has been out of high-school three years. A knee injury cost him his 2010 campaign with the Tar Heels.
Bernard also missed almost three games in 2012 with another knee injury, but that didn’t stop him from putting up 1,228 yards on the ground along with 12 touchdowns. He had an average of 122.8 yards per game this season.
He set a UNC freshman record in 2011 by rushing for 1,253 yards and became the first North Carolina running back since 1997 to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark.
Bernard’s versatility will make him an even more attractive option to NFL teams. He is a dynamic special teams player who led the nation by averaging 16.4 yards per punt return, with two touchdowns. One of the most exciting highlights of the year came when Bernard ran a punt back for a go-ahead score with 13 seconds left, to lift North Carolina to a victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack. It was the first time the Tar Heels had beaten them in five years.
Bernard also stated he plans to come back to North Carolina and finish his degree at some point.
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