UCLA running back Paul Perkins declares for NFL draft

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) will enter the 2016 NFL draft, forgoing his final year of eligibility. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) will enter the 2016 NFL draft, forgoing his final year of eligibility. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA’s Paul Perkins has declared for the 2016 NFL draft, leaving the Bruins as one of the most productive running backs in school history.

Perkins announced his decision on Tuesday afternoon, one day after nose tackle Kenny Clark did the same. The former led the Pac-12 in rushing as a redshirt sophomore in 2014, and followed that performance with a 1,343-yard season on the ground. He finished as one of the top-five rushers in the conference despite being slowed by a knee injury midseason.

“Although I am excited about leaving,” Perkins wrote on Twitter, “my heart feels bittersweet to say goodbye. It has been an amazing journey. I have made many great friends and will take with me great memories.”

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Arizona native ran for 3,491 yards in his career, the third-highest total in school history behind Gaston Green (3,731) and Johnathan Franklin (4,403).

To replace him, UCLA will likely use some combination of Nate Starks, who ran for 320 yard and five touchdowns in his second collegiate season, or soon-to-be sophomores Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi. The former was second on the team with 404 rushing yards, but racked up most of his numbers late in games.