Jerreth Sterns is turning his sights to professional football.

The Western Kentucky junior receiver announced his intentions to enter the 2022 NFL Draft with a Twitter post Sunday, the day after the Hilltoppers beat Appalachian State in the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium.

“After lots of prayer and conversations with those close to me I have decided to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL,” Sterns wrote in part. “I will be taking a leap of faith and declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.”

Sterns was not only WKU’s (9-5) leading receiver but is currently the nation’s leading receiver this season. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Waxahachie, Texas, native finished the season with 150 receptions for 1,902 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged 135.9 yards receiving per game and 12.7 yards per catch in his one season with the Hilltoppers. Sterns finished the season with the third-most receptions and fifth-most receiving yards in college football history.

Taywan Taylor previously had the best receiving season in WKU history with 98 catches for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games in 2016.

“This dude here is something special,” wrote Zach Kittley, WKU’s 2021 offensive coordinator who recently took the same position at Texas Tech. “Whoever takes this guy is going to be lucky they did. I know he will make them a better team! Love you, my guy. Continue to be who you are and go be great.”

Sterns was the top target for longtime teammate Bailey Zappe, who broke all-time single-season FBS records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in WKU’s 59-38 Boca Raton Bowl victory over the Mountaineers. The offense is second nationally with 44.2 points scored per game this season and second in total offense with 535.3 yards per game. WKU’s passing offense leads the nation with 433.7 yards per game.

The duo followed Kittley from Houston Baptist, where Sterns set almost every receiving record. He had 220 receptions for 1,971 yards and 18 touchdowns in 27 games over three seasons with the Huskies.

“Love ya brother! Blessed to have been able to witness greatness firsthand these last 4 years,” Zappe wrote on Twitter. “You’ve made me better in so many ways on and off the field! Thank you for everything, now let’s go do it at the highest level.”

With his success this season, Sterns was named Conference USA’s Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-C-USA selection. He was an Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, and was named an All-American by numerous outlets, including Second Team honors from FWAA, the Associated Press and the Athletic, and First Team honors from Pro Football Network.

Sterns plans to play in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl on Feb. 3 in Las Vegas.

“I’ll probably take about two weeks off before I start training,” Sterns said after Saturday’s game. “Take some time away from it, let my body heal a little bit and just get it again.”

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit