Texas A&M OL Luke Joeckel to enter the 2013 NFL Draft

Texas A&M Aggies offensive linesman Luke Joeckel (76) during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2013 Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium. Texas A&M won 41-13. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

According to CBS Sports, the nation’s top-rated offensive tackle, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, has decided to forgo his senior year of school in order to enter the NFL Draft.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Joeckel said on the school’s website. “I have thought long and hard and visited with my family and coaches. I feel it is in my best interest to come out. I appreciate all that Texas A&M has done for me and my family. It is tough to leave a great group of coaches and players, including my twin brother, Matt. I know they will have a great season in 2013 and I will remain their biggest fan.”

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound force took home the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top lineman in 2012. He had no easy task, as his quarterback, Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, routinely kept busted plays alive for longer periods of time than the big men up front are generally used to.

Joeckel, having won the Outland Trophy, spent some time following the Aggies’ blowout win of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl debating whether or not to return for his senior year.

He may be passing up a shot at a run at the national title with A&M, but the opportunity to be taken in the top 10 in the 2013 NFL Draft was simply too great of an opportunity to pass up.

As of now, Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has Joeckel being selected first overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. He is the type of talent that can be expected to anchor an entire offensive line for a decade or more.

Now that he is departing, the Aggies’ other superstar offensive tackle, Jake Matthews, is expected to slide from the right side to the all-important left tackle position, blocking Johnny Football’s blind side.

A&M loses a star, but SEC rival Georgia’s top player will be returning for his senior year.