Jan. 13, 2009

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) - All-American defensive end Aaron Maybin will skip his final two seasons at Penn State and declare for the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore led the Big Ten with 12 sacks and finished with 49 tackles - 20 for loss - as the Nittany Lions went 11-1 before losing 38-24 to Southern California in the Rose Bowl.

Maybin will be one of the top defensive ends available and is a likely first-round pick.

"Leaving Penn State was one of the most difficult decisions I've faced," Maybin said in a statement. "In the end, I've decided this is an opportunity I would like to pursue."

Maybin announced his decision after speaking to students at his former high school, Mt. Hebron, in Ellicott City.

A year after recording four sacks in spot duty, Maybin emerged as a defensive leader and helped Penn State rebound from a series of off-the-field distractions.

Fellow defensive end Maurice Evans - who had led Penn State with 12.5 sacks the previous season - and Abe Koroma were suspended for three games for marijuana possession. A pair of defensive tackles, Chris Baker and Phil Taylor, were kicked off the team over the summer for undisclosed reasons.

Maybin led a Nittany Lions defense that allowed just over 12 points per game during the regular season and would likely have played for the national championship if not for a last-second field goal in a 24-23 loss to Iowa.