Tar Heels WR Downs opts out of Holiday Bowl for NFL leap

December 9, 2022 GMT
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North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs runs with the ball in the first half during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
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North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs runs with the ball in the first half during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina receiver Josh Downs is opting out of the Holiday Bowl against No. 15 Oregon to prepare for a jump to the NFL draft.

Downs announced his decision in a social media post Friday, less than a week after he had 11 catches for 100 yards in the Tar Heels’ loss to No. 10 Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. He led the team with 94 catches for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games.

Downs ranks third in the Bowl Subdivision ranks with 8.5 catches per game, while his 11 TD catches is tied for seventh.

His top stretch came when he had a run of four straight 100-yard games with at least nine catches each time. That included 15 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown at Virginia and 11 catches for 154 yards and three scores in a win at Wake Forest that clinched the ACC’s Coastal Division title.

Downs had ranked 10th in FBS in 2021 with 1,335 yards receiving to go with eight scores.

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