Thursday, January 4, 2001
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Updated at 4:10 p.m., Thursday, January 4, 2001

Raiola to enter NFL draft

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

As anticipated, former St. Louis School star Dominic Raiola, a junior All-America center for Nebraska, announced today that he will relinquish his senior season to become eligible for the April NFL draft.

Dominic Raiola is a first-team All-America center for Nebraska.

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“I’m ready for it and they (Nebraska coaches) know I’m ready for it,” said the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Raiola.

Raiola — who turned 22 on Dec. 30, the same day as Nebraska’s 66-17 Alamo Bowl victory against Northwestern — made his decision yesterday morning. “It was something I really weighed out,” he said.

Raiola was advised that he would be a late first-round to early second-round pick. He said if the projections were lower, he probably would have returned to Nebraska. Although he was enrolled for the spring semester, which starts Monday, he will stay here a few more days before finding a place to workout on the mainland.

“It’s so funny to see your little boy grow up and to see this,” said Raiola’s mother, Wendy Raiola.

Underclassmen must declare their draft intentions by Jan. 12.

Raiola was rated as the fifth-best underclassmen offensive lineman in NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper’s midseason report.

Raiola was a finalist for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi awards. He was named as first-team center on the Football Writers Association of America and Gannett News Service All-America teams.

Raiola has “dominating strength and great initial quickness,” according to Gannett News Service.

On Dec. 15 Raiola said he had no plans to leave school early for the NFL.

“My pro career is in two years. I just want to clear that up,” Raiola said at the time.

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