The University of Wisconsin has lost its second All-American to the NFL draft.
Badgers left tackle Ryan Ramczyk tweeted Tuesday morning that he will forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility, joining outside linebacker T.J. Watt as UW underclassmen who are leaving Madison a year early.
“This was a very difficult decision, and one that didn’t come easy,” Ramczyk said in a message on Twitter. “Growing up as a Badger fan, it was an absolute dream come true to play for Wisconsin. Now I look forward to fulfilling my dream of playing in the NFL."
The Stevens Point Journal first reported Ramczyk’s decision late Monday night before his official announcement.
Ramczyk said Dec. 30 that he received a first-round grade from the NFL Advisory Board. The 6-foot-6, 314-pound tackle underwent hip surgery Jan. 5, however, a procedure that will take about four months to recover from and will prevent him from working out for NFL teams before April’s draft.
Ramczyk said in a UW release that the surgery went even better than anticipated.
“The surgeon said there was less damage than he expected and it went well,” Ramczyk said in the release. “I won’t be able to test (physically) at the (NFL) Combine, but I’ll be there for all the interviews and test and measurements."
Ramczyk also told the State Journal after the Badgers’ Cotton Bowl victory on Jan. 2 that the surgery could improve his mobility once he fully recovers.
Ramczyk transfered to UW from UW-Stevens Point in 2015 and played just one season for the Badgers, a year in which he earned multiple first-team All-American selections.
Before this year, only eight UW players had opted for early entry to the NFL draft since 2000, and only three of those players — offensive lineman Peter Konz, running back Brian Calhoun and cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu — were selected outside the first round.
Watt and Ramczyk are the least experienced Badgers to make the leap during that time. The eight before them all had three years of Division I experience, while Watt has two and Ramczyk only has one.
There are multiple candidates to replace Ramczyk at left tackle next season.
David Edwards and Jacob Maxwell, who split time at right tackle in 2016, could move over to the left side. Rising redshirt freshman Cole Van Lanen, a highly recruited prospect in the 2016 class, could win the job, while redshirt sophomore David Moorman could also compete for the spot.