Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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While it may pain Hawkeye football fans to hear, Noah Fant absolutely made the right call in foregoing his remaining eligibility to prepare for the NFL Draft. Fant, who has the most receiving touchdowns by a tight end in Iowa history, has nothing left to prove by playing in one more game.

Fant has established himself to be a physical specimen and an athletic mismatch on the offensive side of the ball, and he is incredibly dangerous in the red zone.

His performance in one final game, the Outback Bowl, would in no way help him move up on the draft boards. Fant is widely regarded by draft analysts to be the top draft-eligible tight end in this year’s draft and is almost certainly a first-round pick, so risking a potential injury by playing in the bowl game is not worth it for him in the slightest.

RELATED: Hawkeyes talk Outback Bowl, Noah Fant

Take Jaylon Smith as an example. He played linebacker for Notre Dame and was a sure-fire top-five draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but while playing in the Irish bowl game, he suffered a gruesome knee injury that led to his falling in the draft.

Smith is now one of the best young defensive players in the league, but his salary does not fully reflect that because of his bowl-game injury.

So while Hawkeye fans wish they could see Fant play one last game in the Black and Gold, his decision should be respected, and fans should look forward to Fant carrying on the great Iowa tight-end legacy in the NFL.