COLUMBIA -- South Caro-lina redshirt sophomore receiver Tori Gurley is headed for the NFL draft.

Gurley told ESPN on Sunday that he plans to give up his final two seasons with the Gamecocks and pursue his dream of playing in the NFL. He later posted messages confirming the news on his Twitter account and Facebook page.

The 23-year-old from Rock Hill says he was grateful to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier for helping him develop as a player.

"This was the most difficult decision of my life for many reasons," Gurley told the website. "My years at the University of South Carolina were the best years of my life. I fulfilled a lifelong dream to play under a Hall of Fame coach in Steve Spurrier and being a part of the Gamecock nation.

"I will forever be grateful to Coach Spurrier for my significant development as a player and a person and giving me the opportunity to play for him and to fulfill my dream of pursuing a career in the NFL."

The 6-5, 230-pound Gurley caught 44 passes for 465 yards and four touchdowns this season for the Gamecocks, but was overshadowed by fellow sophomore Alshon Jeffery and his 1,517-yard receiving season.

Gurley caught 21 passes for 440 yards his freshman year.