All-American defensive end Aaron Maybin has played his last down for Penn State.
Sources confirmed last night that Maybin, a redshirt sophomore, plans to enter the NFL draft in April.
Maybin, who did not return a phone call, is expected to make his announcement official in the next few days. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Thursday.
He led the Nittany Lions in sacks (12) and tackles for losses (20) and forced a team-high three fumbles.
Maybin, 6 feet 4 and 235 pounds, was a finalist for the Bednarik Award and the Hendricks Award this past season and was a first-team All-Big Ten pick.
Some NFL experts project Maybin as a first-round pick, although some scouts and coaches believe he does not weigh enough to be an every-down player. He very well could end up at outside linebacker.
Primarily a third-down player who was used in passing situations in 2007, Maybin began preseason drills as the backup to preseason All-American Maurice Evans.
But when Evans was suspended and Jerome Hayes had a season-ending ACL injury, Maybin seized the opportunity and became a star in his one season as a starter.
Maybin's position coach, Larry Johnson, is expected to interview with Illinois coach Ron Zook this weekend.
Zook fired defensive line coach Tom Sims more than a week ago, but may offer Johnson the job as defensive coordinator since that spot has been shared by two staff members the past two seasons.
Johnson has sent several defensive linemen to the NFL and has reeled in some of Penn State's top recruits from Virginia and Maryland, including Maybin, outside linebacker Navorro Bowman, tailback Evan Royster and recently graduated wide receiver Derrick Williams.
Johnson also has secured 11 of the 23 recruits in the Lions' class of 2009.
Penn State All-American center A.Q. Shipley from Moon High School and wide receiver Deon Butler will play for the East in the Jan. 17 East-West Shrine Game in Houston that will air on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.
Shipley captured the Rimington Award as the nation's top center, while Butler finished as the Lions' all-time leader in receptions.
Ron Musselman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .