Bridgewater set to enter NFL Draft

Louisville, KY ( - Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will skip his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Earlier reports from ESPN and the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday were followed by a statement from Bridgewater through the university.

"This was an extremely difficult decision for me," said Bridgewater on Wednesday. "I can't express how much my time at Louisville has meant to me. These past three years have allowed me to mature as a person and leave the university as a better person and with my degree in hand, which was one of my goals. I will cherish every moment on the field and off the field, and every bond that I built. I will forever represent the university with the utmost pride and respect.

"I didn't know much about Louisville when I made the decision to attend, but in the end, it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made."

Bridgewater was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate entering his junior season and had a strong 2013 campaign. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,970 yards with a school-record 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 13 games.

Louisville finished 12-1 and concluded the season with a 36-9 rout of Miami- Florida in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Bridgewater threw for 447 yards with three scores and also ran for a touchdown in the lopsided victory.

The Miami native appeared in 39 games in three years for the Cardinals and won 27 games as the team's starting quarterback. He threw for 9,817 yards with 72 touchdowns and 24 interceptions, earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman and Big East Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore.