Giovani Bernard, a sophomore running back at North Carolina and the top punt returner in the country, will forgo his final two years of eligibility and declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Bernard, ranked No. 11 in the country in rushing yards per game (122.8), is ranked No. 1 at his position by ESPN and No. 52 overall.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my three years in Chapel Hill and coming to UNC was one of the best decisions I've ever made," Bernard said in a prepared statement. "I feel like the best decision for my future is to enter the NFL draft this year. I want to thank Coach [Larry] Fedora, this coaching staff and the previous coaching staff for putting me in a position to succeed. I am on track to graduate and I plan on coming back to earn my degree in the spring of 2014."