Posted on: January 7, 2011 12:32 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
This hasn't been a good week for the UCLA defense. On Tuesday the team found out it would be losing its stud linebacker Akeem Ayers to the NFL, and today the Bruins found out that their top safety and interception machine, Rahim Moore, would be following Ayers out the door. Moore made the announcement on Friday.
"I just felt like it was time," Moore said. "Leaving UCLA is hard, but it's like I had a mediocre job and now I'm going for a great job. It's not that I think UCLA is mediocre, but I have dreamed about playing in the NFL my whole life."
"I will let my work and interviews at the combine, and my game films, speak for me. I just know I'm ready."
Moore has been a starter for the last three years at UCLA, and led the nation in interceptions with 10 in 2009. He's considered by many to be the top safety available in the draft this year, and any time you're told that, you make the jump. All entries into the draft have until January 18 to change their mind, but Moore says he's already hired an agent, which makes him ineligible to return.
Moore also said that he plans on returning to UCLA to earn his degree.
Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In the flood of departures for the NFL Draft yesterday, featuring such luminaries as Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, and not Andrew Luck, there was one early entrant that seemed to be unjustly overlooked: Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who multiple reports stated would be declaring in the near future.
Jenkins doesn't have a whole lot in the way of stats -- three interceptions, a handful of tackles-for-loss, some mostly nondescript punt returns -- but being named first-team All-SEC by the AP reflects how dominant Jenkins was in man-to-man coverage, moreso than any other player in the conference that wasn't Patrick Peterson. (That the SEC's coaches selected South Carolina's wobbly Stephon Gilmore over Jenkins for first-team honors is maybe the worst case of preseason-accolade inertia we've seen that hasn't involved Adrian Clayborn.)
The consensus on Jenkins is that he'll go in the first round, possibly in the top 10 or 15 picks , and given the premium on top-level cover corners on the next level (as wel las the college one), that makes sense. Maybe he's not Ingram or Mallett in terms of star power, but there's a chance Jenkins could outshine both in the league.
Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 10:17 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis might be playing his final game as a Panther in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday, according to a local report. Multiple sources have confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the sophomore will "likely" declare for the NFL Draft, leaving two seasons of eligibility on the table at Pitt.
Lewis, the 2009 Big East Offensive Player of the Year, saw a drastic decline in production from his freshman season - often having to split carries with fellow running back Ray Graham. According to the Post-Gazette, Lewis filed papers with the NFL earlier this season to get information on his draft status. He was told last week he would likely be a third round pick.
Unless there is a last-minute change of heart, Lewis is expected to make the announcement sometime next week. With Pittsburgh still searching for a coach (and a direction) it might be time for Lewis to make the jump while memories of that breakout 2009 season are still lingering in the mind of scouts.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 10:46 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Stanford quickly became an early favorite for 2011 with Andrew Luck's announcement that he will be returning to school next fall. You can go ahead and add Oklahoma to that list of early favorites with wide receiver Ryan Broyles also announcing his return for 2011.
"Personally, I know I can mature as a person and a player and get myself better prepared for the NFL," he said in his official release. "I want to win more championships and break every record possible as a receiver. I'm fortunate to have the players around me who can help me achieve those goals."
Broyles finished the regular season as the nation's leader in receptions per game, and third in receiving yards per game. With Landry Jones still under center, there isn't any reason to believe they can't repeat some of that success again next year. Also, Broyles' announcement came one day after linebacker Travis Lewis announced he would return to Norman for his senior season to win a championship.
Bob Stoops' team was frequently overlooked as a contender in 2010, because of road losses to Missouri and Texas A&M. But with a Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl title under their belt, next year's squad is focused on reclaiming the top spot in college football.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier today the news broke that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was going to return to Stanford next season instead of entering the NFL Draft. It was a surprise to most, seeing that Luck has been projected as the top pick in the draft, and it seems Jim Harbaugh is on his way out of Palo Alto to cash in on the NFL riches his quarterback is passing up.
In his post on the subject, the honorable Adam Jacobi said that it may not be the wrong decision for Luck to stay in school. He brought up some good points too, pointing out how college quarterbacks without a lot of starts under their belt have a history of struggling in the NFL. He even brought up the example of David Carr. Still, in spite of all that, I'm of the firm opinion that Luck is making a costly mistake to stay in Palo Alto.
There are a lot of things out of Luck's control with this decision that nobody can predict. Should he have gone on to the NFL, there's no guarantee he'd have succeeded. Staying in school, there's no guarantee that he'll get through another season or two healthy, or be rated as highly of an NFL prospect ever again.
Here's the one thing we do know about Luck: had he gone to the NFL, he'd have gotten paid. Not paid like you or I get paid, but "I can't choose between these yachts, so I think I'll buy both of them. Oh, and the Bentley too," paid.
We don't know what the future of the NFL holds. There may be a lockout next season, there may not be. What we do know is that as the top pick in the draft, and a quarterback at that, Luck would have landed a huge deal from the Carolina Panthers. Look at what Sam Bradford got from the St. Louis Rams with last season, signing a deal with $50 million guaranteed.
All indications are, whether there is an NFL lockout or not, one of the changes the NFL will be making is to put a cap on all rookie contracts. Which means that the difference between entering the 2011 draft and the 2012 draft could mean around $45 million for Luck. That's a lot of money to just give away.
Luck is a good quarterback. Will he be a great quarterback, I don't know. None of us do for sure. Still, I really don't think going back to school for another year will really help his chances. If Luck is destined to be an NFL great, he will put the work in to get better and become one. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.
Whatever the case is, I'd rather be a failed NFL quarterback with $50 million in my bank account than one with $5 million. If Luck does become a great player, he'll end up being paid either way. It's just, in this decision, the risk is not worth the reward for Luck. Yes, that degree from Stanford will be nice, but football isn't a sport anybody can play until they're 70 years old. He'll have plenty of time to go back and finish his degree if it means that much to him.
But the opportunity to break the bank, and set yourself and your family up to live comfortably for a few generations doesn't come around very often. I fear Luck may have just blown his.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 4:07 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
After the Orange Bowl, Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans made it clear that he was going to seriously consider his options regarding the 2011 NFL Draft. The redshirt junior has one year of eligibility left with the Hokies, but has been leaning towards turning pro for some time. On Thursday, he made his decision official via a school release.
“After sitting down with family, I’ve decided to declare for the NFL Draft,” Evans said in the official release. “I felt like this is the best opportunity for me and my family. This was a tough decision because Virginia Tech was good to me and my family and I had fun. I was blessed to play at Virginia Tech and at that level of football. I have plans to graduate and I will, but the NFL has always been a dream so it’s hard to pass it up right now.”
This decision makes sense for a couple of reasons. Evans got married last winter, and the opportunity to provide for his young son is not something that he is prepared to risk. He tore his ACL the summer before the 2009 season and it forced him to miss the entire year. He has been dinged up a few times this season as well, but nothing serious enough to greatly jeopardize his status. Still, one more injury to his knee could shut the window of opportunity to play professionally. During his redshirt freshman season, Evans was the ACC Rookie of the Year and Orange Bowl MVP. When he returned to the lineup in 2010, he shared the backfield duties with 2009's star Ryan Williams and sophomore David Wilson.
“I’m very happy for Darren and his family,” running backs coach Billy Hite said. “At the same time, I’m very sad because of the kind of player he is and he’s an even better person than he is a player. We’re really going to miss him in our football program and I obviously want to wish him the best of luck with his future in the NFL.”
Posted on: January 4, 2011 12:44 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers had a choice to make. Did he want to come back for his senior season, likely another down year, at UCLA, or did he want to go make a few million dollars in the NFL? What do you think Akeem chose to do?
“I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at UCLA for all of their help the last few years,” said Ayers in a statement released by UCLA. “I have had a great experience at UCLA and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such an outstanding school.
“I will miss playing with my UCLA teammates next year but I feel that the decision to go to the NFL is what is best for my family. I will always be a Bruin.”
I know, I was shocked too.
Ayers is projected to be a top-20 pick in the NFL draft this spring, so it only makes sense that he'd be leaving school to cash in on his potential. Especially considering he missed quite a bit of time this season with an injury -- though that didn't stop him from being named first team All-Pac-10 -- and returning for his senior season only to be injured again would hurt his draft status.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:57 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With Randy Shannon gone from Miami , any Hurricanes he recruited to Coral Gables aren't too likely to stick around if they believe the NFL will give them a fair shake in the draft. So it's no surprise that two-time All-ACC cornerback Brandon Harris has elected to move on to the next level after his junior season :
The advisory committee hasn't always had cornerbacks' best interests in mind (witness Michigan's Donovan Warren coming out last spring after an encouraging grade, only to go undrafted), but with a handful of 2009 All-American honors under his belt, a major role on the nation's third-ranked pass defense, and a firm spot on the NFL's radar , Harris isn't in any danger of slipping too far down the draft.
But if the move makes a lot of sense from Harris's position, it's not going to help a Miami secondary that's already losing two seniors from the two-deep at corner. Al Golden will have to find some players willing to grow up in a hurry to keep the 'Cane pass defense anywhere near the lofty perch it enjoyed in 2010