Pierce leaving Temple for NFL

Temple running back Bernard Pierce has decided to forgo his senior season and will enter the NFL Draft.

Pierce was a three-time First-Team All-MAC selection and the conference's top freshman in 2009. He ran for 1,481 yards with a school-record 27 touchdowns this past season.

"It has been a hard decision to make, and took a lot of soul-searching, but I believe that it is the right decision for me and my career," said Pierce in a statement. "I would like to take this time to thank Coach Steve Addazio, Coach Tyree Foreman, and all the staff here at Temple, for helping to shape and mold my football talent. I would like to thank Temple University for all the educational and athletic opportunities it has provided me."

Pierce has decided to withdraw from spring classes, but has said he intends to return to school to complete his degree.

"We want to thank Bernard for all that he has given to Temple football during his tenure," Addazio said. "We wish him great success at the next level, and we appreciate all that he has contributed to Temple University and the football program."

Pierce is the school's all-time leader with 53 rushing touchdowns and 54 total touchdowns. He helped the Owls to a record of 9-4 this past season with a victory in the New Mexico Bowl.