Macomb, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Western Illinois middle linebacker J.J. Raffelson will forgo his senior season of eligibility due to injuries, the Missouri Valley Football Conference university announced Thursday.

Raffelson, from Lake Zurich, Illinois, became the first freshman in Leathernecks program history to lead the team in tackles with 105 in 2012, but he's battled injuries in each of the past two seasons.

Last year, he started the first nine games of WIU's 5-7 season before he underwent season-ending elbow surgery.

Raffelson collected 227 tackles with 10.5 tackles for loss and four pass breakups in 26 career games.

He is scheduled to graduate next month with a bachelor's degree in law enforcement justice administration.

"I feel for him having to make this decision," WIU third-year coach Bob Nielson said. "We were blessed to have J.J. as part of our program, and the program benefited from the impact he made. We wish him the best as he moves forward on this new phase of his life."