This time, it was Joe, a vastly different specimen from his brother Paul -- who currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
Described by one radio analyst as a Sasquatch with better speed than Paul, Joe Kruger led the Utes with six sacks during a disappointing 5-7 season in 2012.
What's more is that Joe's departure marks the end of an era for the Kruger family playing Utah football. All three brothers played for the Utes.
“Joe and his family spent a lot of time making this decision and concluded that it’s in Joe’s best interest to forego his senior year of eligibility and enter the draft. Joe certainly has NFL potential and we wish him the best as he takes his game to the next level," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "The Kruger name has been synonymous with Utah football for a lot of years and we are very appreciative for all they have done for our program. ”
That Kruger would leave the Utah program is curious; after the Utes' first losing season in over a decade many believed Kruger would stay put -- and BYU stars Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman would leave.
It turned out that Van Noy and Hoffman made the decision to stay after a season in which the Cougars won the Poinsettia Bowl, Van Noy was the game's MVP and both had every chance to leave.
Instead it was Kruger who made the decision to test the often-mysterious NFL waters.
Here is Kruger's statement:
“I am releasing this statement after much prayer, consideration and evaluation with my family in announcing that I have decided to forgo my final year of eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL draft.
“These past three years, I have been honored to be a part of a very special group of teammates and coaches at the University of Utah. I have cherished what has been my amazing college experience. The privilege to play under someone as great as Coach Kyle Whittingham has been a tremendous opportunity. The experience of playing together with my brother Dave has been priceless. Now it is my journey to pursue a lifelong dream, which is to become a professional football player in the National Football League.
“This decision is one of the toughest that I have ever had to make. As I reflect on the University of Utah, my teammates, all of my coaches, the football staff, and most importantly the Utah fans, I am filled with humility and deep gratitude. These past years at Utah have been a tremendous learning and growing experience for me. I want to thank everyone at the University and all the Utes everywhere for their support.
“It is my hope in making this decision that the fans, coaches, teammates, and the Utah athletic department will continue to support me and my family as I take this next step in attaining my goals.
“My heart belongs to Utah and I wish continued prosperity and success to my Utah Utes!” - Joe Kruger, Jan. 2, 2013
Going pro early is nothing new for the Krugers; Paul did it too -- and was selected in the second round by the Ravens. His other brother Dave was the only one to play for the Utes all four years.
NFL Draft analysts project that Joe Kruger will be selected in the second or third round -- but the Utes Pro Day combine is still to come along with several other individual tryouts.