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Former Washington State receiver Tavares Martin Jr. declares for NFL Draft

Washington State wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. (8) catches a touchdown pass while defended by Stanford cornerback Quenton Meeks (24) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (Young Kwak / AP)

PULLMAN – Former Washington State wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. will forego another college season and begin preparing for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Martin Jr., who was cut from the WSU roster in December and had one remaining season of eligibility, announced his decision in a heartfelt message on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

In the message, Martin Jr., a native of Belle Glade, Florida – known commonly as “Muck City” – says that playing in the NFL “has been a lifelong dream of mine since the age of eight, playing pee wee football and chasing those rabbits in muck city.”

Martin Jr. had burner speed for an outside receiver and was Luke Falk’s top target as a junior in 2017, hauling in 70 catches for 831 yards and nine touchdowns. He would’ve been one of the Pac-12 Conference’s top returning receivers in 2018, but Martin Jr’s relationship with WSU coach Mike Leach became tenuous near the end of the 2017 season, and Leach dismissed Martin Jr. for a violation of team rules.

Martin Jr. refuted that he was cut, instead claiming via Twitter, “I was dismissed from the team because I asked for my release. I never knew me asking for my release was a violation of the team rules.”

Asked about the sequence of events, Leach later said Martin Jr. didn’t ask for his release prior to being cut.

But Martin Jr. was graceful in his Twitter post, thanking both Leach and the Cougars for his three-year stint on the Palouse.

“To my teammates, the friendships I’ve made will be life lasting,” Martin Jr. wrote. “Finally, I would like to thank Coach Mike Leach for taking a chance on me three years ago. You believed in me when few others would. For that, I will be forever grateful.”

Martin Jr. finished his WSU career with 150 catches, 1,683 yards and 17 touchdowns.