Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who established new school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2015 and helped lead the Tigers to 19 wins in the last two seasons, declared himself for the NFL Draft on Thursday.
 
With his family at his side, Lynch addressed members of the media during a press conference held at the Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex on the University's Park Avenue Campus. A wall of NFL helmets and graphics of Memphis football greats who have gone on to stellar professional careers served as a backdrop.
 
"First, I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity to come play college football and bless me with this athletic ability that He has given me, because without Him, honestly I wouldn't even be here and have this opportunity," Lynch said. "Another big part of my success is my family – my mom, my dad and my brother. They have had my back through this entire process even when it wasn't so easy. They have been there to support me in every decision I made."
 
Lynch went on to thank former Memphis head coach Justin Fuente, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brad Cornelsen, who were both in attendance, as well as the rest of the Memphis coaching staff. Lynch was a member of Fuente's original signing class at Memphis, red-shirting his first season in 2012. Cornelsen was his quarterbacks coach throughout his career with the Tigers.
 
"Also, I would like to thank the alumni, the boosters, the students, the fans, all of Tiger Nation for the love and support they have shown me through these years as well as the equipment guys," Lynch added. "With that being said, I will forego my senior year and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft. After thoughtful consideration with my family, long talks with them and seeking advice from Coach Fuente as well, this is the best decision for my family right now."
 
The 2016 NFL Draft will take place April 28-30 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Lynch concluded his three-year playing career with 8,865 passing yards and 59 passing touchdowns. He completed 758-of-1205 passes.
 
As a junior in 2015, Lynch passed for 3,778 yards and 28 touchdowns, both Memphis season records. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes (296-of-443) and was intercepted just four times during the season – just once every 110 pass attempts.
 
Last year, Lynch led the Tigers to an American Athletic Conference title and the program's first 10-win season since the 1930s. Over the last two years of his career the Tigers won 19 games and appeared in back-to-back bowl games.