COLUMBIA - University of Missouri junior defensive end Charles Harris will forego his final year of eligibility and make himself available for the 2017 NFL draft. Harris made the announcement on Thursday.

Harris came to Mizzou as a virtually unheralded recruit, and developed into one of the top collegiate defensive ends in the nation. He had a breakout season along the defensive line on one of the nation’s top defenses in 2015, leading the SEC in tackles for loss (18.5) while posting seven sacks. He earned All-SEC Second Team honors.

Heralded as the next great player along the defensive line for the Tigers heading into the 2016 season, Harris earned preseason All-SEC honors and was named to five preseason award watch lists. His play on the field did not disappoint as he finished 2016 with 9.0 sacks (26th nationally), 12.0 tackles for loss, 10 QB hurries and was second on the team with 61 tackles.

Harris finishes his Mizzou career ranked seventh in program history with 18.0 sacks and 12th in school history with his 34.5 tackles for loss.

“Charles and I have had a few conversations about his future,” said coach Barry Odom. “I am extremely proud of his approach on a very big decision. Certainly, I wish we could have another year with Charles leading our program, but there’s no question in my mind that he’s ready for the next level.

"He knew the time would come to make a decision, but his primary focus was always this team and doing what he could to make himself better and to help his teammates and coaches. Charles was voted as a team captain, which shows the level of competitor he is and the respect he had on this team. We’re going to miss him, no doubt, but it’s time for him to take his talents to the NFL. We’ll be beaming with pride when we turn on the TV on Sundays and see Charles out there representing Mizzou."

Harris is the latest Mizzou player to leave school early and enter the NFL draft. Other notables include Kony Ealy (second round, 2014), Blaine Gabbert (first round, 2011), Jeremy Maclin (first round, 2009), Shane Ray (first round, 2015), Sheldon Richardson (first round, 2013) and Aldon Smith (first round, 2011).

The Tigers also lost another player on Thursday when freshman wide receiver Keyon Dilosa was dismissed from the team following his arrest on suspicion of third-degree domestic assault. Dilosa allegedly punched a woman in the face with his fist outside a Columbia bar, according to a police report.