Senior linebacker AJ Hotchkins is leaving Oregon's football program with plans to play elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

Hotchkins announced his decision Monday, saying on Twitter that he wished UO best while apologizing to teammates for a September leg injury that ended his season. He plans to use 2017 as a medical redshirt and he would be eligible for the NCAA's medical hardship waiver. He would have one remaining year of eligibility, and thus could play immediately following his graduation.

"I just looked into where I thought the program was going and which direction they wanted to go in and I just thought it was best to grad transfer and pursue getting re-recruited," Hotchkins said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Hotchkins played at Tigard High School before two seasons at Riverside City College (Calif.) and was part of Oregon's 2016 recruiting class. He started six career games and hadn't played since injuring an ankle Sept. 23 at Arizona State.

He emphasized the decision was mutual, and not the result of off-field issues.

"I didn't get in trouble," he said. "It was a decision where we both wanted to part ways and that's the decision I thought was best for me."