Iowa State defensive end JaQuan Bailey declared for the 2021 NFL Draft via Twitter, a day after the Cyclones defeated Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
The 6-foot-2, 261-pound redshirt senior could have stayed for an additional season, based on the blanket year of additional eligibility the NCAA provided to all student-athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Bailey decided to move on to the NFL.
“After much thought, prayers and conversations with my family, I have decided to retire my Cardinal and Gold uniform and enter into the NFL Draft,” Bailey said via Twitter. “I am excited to step into a new chapter in life, and I could not have done it without #CycloneNation.”
Bailey had a tremendous season for the Cyclones, as they reached the Big 12 Championship game for the first team and nearly won their first conference title in more than a century. He earned All-Big 12 First Team honors from the league’s coaches after recording seven sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 38 total tackles, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries.
His play also earned him national recognition, as Bailey was named to the First Team of the Football Writers Association of America All-America Team, along with a Third-Team selection to the Associated Press All-America team.
Bailey wrapped up an incredible career with the Cyclones and now has the ISU records career sacks (25.5) and tackles for loss (44.5). Both of those totals rank in the top-three nationally, respectively, among active FBS players, and his 25.5 career sacks are eighth in Big 12 history.
While Bailey declared for the NFL Draft, two top Cyclones players announced after the Fiesta Bowl that they would return for the 2021 college football season — quarterback Brock Purdy and linebacker Mike Rose.
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