Virginia Tech's Darren Evans missed all of his sophomore season while rehabbing from knee surgery and the tailback isn't taking the chance that it could happen again.

He is entering April's NFL draft.

The redshirt junior said Thursday in a teleconference from his home in Indianapolis that it was a difficult decision, but the opportunity to play in the NFL "has always been a dream."

Evans missed the 2009 season after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He returned this season as a part of a three-tailback rotation for the Hokies and started nine games. He led the team with 854 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

After getting married last winter, Evans said the opportunity to play in the NFL and provide for his wife and young son played a huge factor in his decision.

"This will give me the chance to be a provider, and that's what I want to do," he said.

Coach Frank Beamer told him pre-draft evaluations suggest he would be picked in rounds four-seven, but Evans suspects that he can elevate his status among running backs with hard work and a good showing before NFL talent evaluators at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Evans is the first of Virginia Tech's tailbacks to say he's leaving school early, but teammate Ryan Williams also is thought to be considering declaring for the draft.