Defensive end Arnold Ebiketie, who improved during his three seasons at Temple and enjoyed a breakthrough senior season at Penn State, said Wednesday on Twitter he has opted out of the Outback Bowl and declared for the 2022 NFL draft.

Ebiketie, of Silver Springs, Md., earned All-Big Ten first-team honors after posting 17 tackles for losses, the most by a conference defensive lineman, and 9½ sacks, tops on the Nittany Lions. He also was named a second-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America.

In his statement announcing his decision, Ebiketie thanked Temple “and the people who helped me along the way” and called their support “instrumental in helping me get to this point, and for that I will always be grateful.”

He said his time at Penn State “has been an incredible testament to the places your dreams can take you if you’re willing to work hard enough.”

“From the beginning, I was welcomed with open arms,” he said. “I never felt like just a kid who transferred here. Everyone treated me like family the minute I stepped on campus. The coaching staff led the way and helped me develop into a better person and player.”

Ebiketie is the fifth Penn State starter, and fourth on defense, to skip the bowl game. Wide receiver Jahan Dotson, safety Jaquan Brisker and linebackers Ellis Brooks and Brandon Smith also are sitting it out.

Ebiketie’s combination of strength, quickness and explosiveness attracted the attention of NFL scouts. The majority of 2022 mock drafts have him going on the second day of April’s NFL draft, but a few have him getting consideration late in the first round. CBSSports.com rates him the No. 6 defensive end prospect.

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Ebiketie was born in Cameroon and immigrated to the United States when he was 13. He began playing football as a high school sophomore and gradually improved to where he held a three-star rating at the time he committed to Temple.

He made second-team All-AAC in his redshirt junior season with the Owls before he transferred to Penn State.