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College Football Star Wide Receiver Leaving For NFL Draft

A general view of the stage at the NFL Draft.

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "ON THE CLOCK" for the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

You can add the top wide receiver in the ACC to the growing list of college football stars leaving early to enter the 2023 NFL Draft.

According to ESPN college football insider Pete Thamel, North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs is leaving a year early to enter the NFL Draft. To that end, he is skipping UNC's upcoming appearance in the Holiday Bowl.

Downs ranks among the top five wide receiver prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft on most big boards with ESPN's Todd McShay ranking him No. 4 at his position. Given his production over the last two seasons, the ranking is more than deserved.

In 11 games this season Downs has 94 receptions for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns. All three are top 10 marks in school history for a single season. 

Downs also owns the UNC single season records for receptions (101) and receiving yards (1,335) from his standout 2021 season with the Tar Heels.

In addition to being North Carolina's best wide receiver, Josh Downs is also a solid punt returner who has been the team's primary man on punt returns for the last two seasons.

Downs has 26 returns for 289 yards - an 11.1 yards/return average. 

We might not know until well after the NFL Scouting Combine whether Downs is worthy of being a first-round pick. But with his skillset and accomplishments, it seems likely that he'll be off the board by the end of Day 2.

How high will Josh Downs go drafted?