GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — It appears East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell has played in his last game as a member of the Pirates. He hasn’t played his last football game, however.

Mitchell, the talented 5-foot-9 sophomore running back who electrified fans with his talent, speed and personality, posted on his Instagram page that he would declare for the 2023 NFL draft.

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“First, I just want to give all the praise to God who has helped me along this tough journey. Through the ups and downs, the good and bad, and the belief and non-belief,” Mitchell said in the Instagram post. “I just want to thank you for allowing me to get this far, and I know there’s more to come.”

Mitchell began turning heads as a true freshman in 2020, starting two of the nine games he played. In 2021, he earned All-American Athletic Conference honors after rushing for a league-best 1,132 yards and leading the league in all-purpose yards per game (115.83).

He came into this season with even bigger expectations and did not disappoint, rushing for 1,452 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had 27 catches for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Mitchell was the first Pirate since Tay Cooper (2012-13) to eclipse 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons and entered ECU’s bowl game having surpassed 100 yards in six-straight contests (now seven).

In the Birmingham Bowl against Coastal Carolina, he had 22 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown, returned a kickoff 57 yards and had two catches for 15 yards.

He finished his ECU career with 3,027 yards rushing on 463 carries, a 6.5-yard-per-carry average, and 25 touchdowns.