By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
Baylor freshman quarterback Zach Smith will have one less target to throw to next season.
On Saturday, sophomore wide receiver Ishmael Zamora announced that he would enter the 2017 NFL Draft, forgoing his final two years at Baylor.
Zamora took to Twitter to announce his decision.
“I made this decision for a lot of reasons and family is the number one,” Zamora said. “I loved Baylor just as much as the next guy but I couldn’t stay forever.”
Zamora is now the second Baylor wide receiver to announce his early departure this offseason. Junior wide receiver KD Cannon announced his decision to leave Baylor before his senior campaign back on Dec. 28, the day after the Bears defeated Boise State 31-12 in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.
Cannon also cited family as the main reason for his early departure from Baylor.
“As a father, all of my decisions, now are made with the best interest of my children and family in mind,” Cannon wrote on Twitter. “So, through much prayer and consideration, I have made the exciting decision to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.”
Zamora also confirmed via Twitter that he will participate in the EXOS NFL Combine Training Program. EXOS is a company that dedicates itself to helping NFL draft prospects through off season strength training, nutrition and physical therapy to increase performance. Zamora will join other early departures like Ohio State junior h-back Curtis Samuel, Alabama tight end OJ Howard and Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams in the training program.
Notable alumni of the training program include Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley and former Baylor and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Zamora’s 2016 season did not begin well. He was suspended in August for the first three games when a video of him abusing his dog with a belt surfaced.
Once back on the field, Zamora put together a productive 2016 campaign. He finished the 2016 season as Baylor’s second leading wide receiver. He caught 63 passes for 809 yards and eight touchdowns. In his first start of the season, a 35-24 victory over Oklahoma State University, he caught eight passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark three other times, against Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University and West Virginia University.
In his final game in a Baylor uniform, Zamora caught five passes for 23 yards and a touchdown against Boise State.
According to NFLdraftscout.com, Zamora is rated No. 35 out of 263 eligible receivers in the draft.
Zamora hopes to hear his name called at the 2017 NFL Draft, which will take place April 27-29 in Philadelphia.