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Defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) becomes the third Baylor junior to declare for the draft, joining Corey Coleman and Xavien Howard.

Baylor All-America defensive tackle Andrew Billings will declare for the NFL draft and forgo his senior year.

The former Waco High School star is projected to be a first-round pick in the draft, which is set for April 28-30 in Chicago.

Anthony Billings said his son, Andrew, got a lot of information from the Baylor coaches and talked it over with his family before making the decision.

Andrew Billings announced his decision Tuesday as the deadline for NFL draft applications is Jan. 18.

“It was extremely hard,” Anthony Billings said. “Andrew doesn’t talk a lot, but he puts a lot of thought into things. He spent a lot of time with the Baylor coaches and they gave him feedback on what they had gotten from the NFL.

“But it was a tough, tough decision.”

Andrew Billings was named the Big 12 co-defensive player of the year with Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. He led the Bears with 15.5 tackles for loss and 51/2 sacks. He collected 40 tackles as a junior.

Billings is the third Baylor junior to declare for the NFL draft as he joins All-America receiver Corey Coleman and all-Big 12 cornerback Xavien Howard.

“I’m really proud of all Andrew has done for this program, for choosing Baylor out of high school and all of his many contributions on and off the field,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said.

With the loss of Billings, the Bears must replace their entire starting defensive line, including senior ends Shawn Oakman and Jamal Palmer and tackle Beau Blackshear.

When the Bears signed Billings out of Waco High in 2013, it was was one of the most heralded recruits since Briles arrived in 2007.

Not only was Billings one of the top rated high school linemen in the country, he also was a powerlifting champion. He set the Texas state powerlifting record as a Waco High senior with 2,010 total pounds, including 805 pounds in the squat, 500 pounds in the bench and 705 pounds in the dead lift.

Billings played immediately for the Bears, participating in 11 games and starting two for the program’s first Big 12 championship team in 2013.

He was a starter as a sophomore in 2014. He had 37 tackles, with 10 1/2 for losses and two sacks, to earn first-team all-Big 12 recognition.

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