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Tag:2012 NFL Draft
Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Gamecocks lose Jeffery, Gilmore to NFL Draft

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

South Carolina likely didn't have any illusions about where star receiver Alshon Jeffery was going to play his football next season. But the Gamecocks were no doubt hoping that Jeffery might be the only major early departure for the NFL Draft; the decision made Wednesday by junior corner Stephon Gilmore, however, means that Jeffery will have company on the way out of Columbia.

Both players have now publicly declared for April's draft, with Jeffery relaying his decision to ESPN and Gilmore's mother confirming her son's choice to CBSSports.com RapidReporter Josh Kendall. Gilmore informed the Gamecock coaching staff Wednesday.

"I'm ready for the next step," Jeffery said. "I'm physical and can make plays in the red zone. I can make big plays in big games. I can work on my speed and get quicker. I want to be like Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson."

For Jeffery, the decision was a likely no-brainer. Though the buttoned-up nature of the Gamecocks' 2011 offense (and increased defensive attention without the presence of Marcus Lattimore) saw a sizable decline in Jeffery's numbers, his All-American sophomore season -- 88 catches, 9 touchdowns, and more yards (1,517) than any wideout not playing in a non-BCS league or the state of Oklahoma -- meant he'd already proven just about everything he could prove at the college level. His final collegiate game showed that his immense physical talent is as intact as ever, as he skied for a game-changing Hail Mary and finished with 148 yards in a Capital One Bowl MVP performance.

It wasn't enough for either of our CBSSports.com draft experts to move Jeffery into the first-round of their most recent mock drafts, but a series of good workouts could change things.

Gilmore didn't have nearly Jeffery's nationwide name-recognition, but he arguably had a much larger impact on the Gamecocks' 2011 success than his offensive counterpart; after a subpar 2010, the South Carolina secondary finished second in the nation in pass defense and third in opponent's passer rating, with Gilmore's four interceptions and cover-corner skills playing a large role in that improvement. Our Dan Brugler has Gilmore projected to go to the New England Patriots with the 28th pick of the draft. 

That kind of projection is why the Gamecocks will have some big shoes to fill in the passing game -- on both sides of the ball -- come 2012.

Check out where Jeffery, Gilmore, and all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early entrants here. 

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 6:45 pm
 

Montee Ball still undecided on NFL status

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Montee Ball, the standout Wisconsin tailback who tied Barry Sanders' season mark for most total touchdowns this year with 39, may not be off to the NFL quite yet. Ball, who finished fourth in Heisman voting this year, has not announced his plans for next season, and although he's got a touchdown streak of 20 straight games and rushed for 6.4 yards per carry this season, he's not a lock to go pro.

On Wednesday, Ball took to Twitter to (somewhat) clear the air about his status. "Lots of speculation out there, leaning one way but just not ready to make an announcement yet, appreciate everyone's patience," tweeted Ball.

That's a departure from Ball's earlier plans. Even as of late Tuesday night, Ball had told Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal that his announcement date would be Wednesday.

Ball [NFL draft profile] is currently the sixth-rated running back prospect on CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang's Big Board, and the 80th-best prospect overall. That would theoretically place Ball in the middle of the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, but individual NFL teams' valuations of prospects begin to vary widely past the first round, so Ball could end up considerably higher -- or lower -- if he were to declare for the draft.

If Bell were to stay, his monster 2011 season leaves him in prime position to challenge for several NCAA records. He would need 19 total touchdowns to break former Miami University standout Travis Prentice's career recrd of 78 total TDs, and Ball would need 20 rushing touchdowns to top Prentice's mark of 73 career rushing touchdowns. Ball is 11 games with one TD away from breaking Prentice's record of 35 games with scores, and seven multi-score games away from breaking Prentice's mark of 25 games with at least two touchdowns. Yes, Travis Prentice holds basically every major scoring record for running backs in FBS history.

At the same time, the shelf life of tailbacks at the highest levels of football is generally short, and it may not be in Bell's best interests to stay in college and not get an NFL salary while he subjects himself to the wear and tear of being the focal point of a rushing offense for another year. So this is a tough, tough decision on his part, and it's not hard to see why the final call is taking Ball longer than he anticipated.

Will Ball stay or go? Keep up on the latest developments for him and the rest of the Badgers at CBSSports.com's Wisconsin RapidReports page, and check out the rest of the news on early NFL draft entrants here.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview 
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:08 pm
 

Stanford OT Jonathan Martin declares for draft

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Andrew Luck might be just the start of a Stanford exodus to the NFL Draft, since as of Tuesday afternoon he already has some Cardinal company.

Junior Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin announced via his Twitter account Tuesday that he will be forgoing his senior season in Palo Alto to enter this April's draft:

 

Martin could be one of two early-entrants from the Cardinal offensive line, as All-American guard David DeCastro is also expected to declare in the near future. 

"#NERDs" or not, Martin and DeCastro stand to soon become some very wealthy nerds. In a tackle-light draft, Martin shapes up as an all-but-certain first-round selection and could hear his name called in the top 10. At 6'6" and 305 pounds with loads of experience both drive-blocking and pass-protecting in Stanford's pro-style scheme, the two-time first-team All-Pac-12 honoree ranks as the third tackle off the board here at CBSSports.com and the No. 13 prospect overall. (DeCastro, incidentally, ranks ninth.)

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Posted on: January 3, 2012 5:48 pm
 

USF RB Darrell Scott leaving for the NFL Draft

Posted by Chip Patterson

South Florida fans were thrilled to get Darrell Scott in Tampa this season, once a highly-touted running back now with apparent second life after transferring from Colorado. But in somewhat of a surprise move, Scott has decided to keep his time with the Bulls brief, and forego his final season of eligibility to enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

A school official confirmed to CBSSports.com of the running back's decision, and now Scott moves to the next phase of working to boost his stock in the eyes of NFL scouts. Scott rushed for 814 yards and five touchdowns for the Bulls in 2011, good for fifth in the Big East but not even cracking the Top 75 nationally. Scott often shared snaps in Skip Hotz's offense, which was up and down throughout the season as a unit.

Scott is extremely talented and shown bursts of potential.  His most impressive performance this season was a 146-yard, three touchdown outing in a rout of Florida A&M in in September.  Unfortunatey Scott's numbers dipped with the Bulls, who lost seven of their final eight contests and missed the postseason.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: January 3, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Rutgers WR Sanu declares for 2012 NFL Draft

Posted by Chip Patterson

Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will take advantage of his record-breaking performance in 2011, and forego his senior season to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. The unanimous All-Big East First Team selection made his decision official during an on-campus press conference on Tuesday.

"It was a tough decision, because I was definitely thinking about coming back," Sanu explained. "I'm going to miss the family, the cohesiveness of being around my teammates every day. I'm emotionally attached to this team, we have such a tight bond, and I love all these guys."

Sanu set Big East records for single-season receptions (115) and single-game receptions (16) this season. In just three years on the field the star wide receiver finishes his time at Rutgers' as the conference's leader in career receptions with 210 catches. Sanu joins Ray Rice, Kenny Britt, and Anthony Davis as Scarlet Knights to declare early for the NFL Draft under head coach Greg Schiano. All three previous players were first round draft picks.

CBSSports.com's Rob Rang ranks Sanu as the fourth best wide receiver in the 2012 class, and currently has the Rutgers' star going 30th in his latest NFL Mock Draft. In addition to his impressive receiving statistics, Sanu contributed 653 rushing yards and four touchdown passes in his time with the Scarlet Knights.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: January 3, 2012 1:44 pm
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Posted on: January 3, 2012 12:18 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Mississippi State's Cox to enter NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Mississippi State will be missing one of the anchors of its defense heading into the 2012 season, as junior defensive tackle Fletcher Cox announced that he was declaring for the NFL Draft on Tuesday.

“This is a chance for me to do what I’ve always dreamed of, play in the NFL,” Cox said in a release. “I appreciate everything Mississippi State has done for me to help me get to this point. The coaches, fans, staff and everyone there have been amazing during my three years in Starkville.” 

Cox finished the season with 56 tackles for the Bulldogs, including 14 1/2 for loss and 5 sacks. He was also named first-team All-SEC by the AP. In his career Cox played 36 games for Mississippi State, starting 27. He also proved to be quite adept at blocking kicks during his time in Starkville, blocking 5 kicks, including a field goal in Mississippi State's 23-17 win over Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.

Cox is currently ranked third amongst defensive tackles on CBSSports.com's draft board, behind Penn State's Devon Still and North Carolina's Quinton Coples. He's also projected to be a late-first round pick by both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 
Posted on: January 3, 2012 11:33 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 1:58 pm
 

Illinois' Mercilus to enter NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In the wake of Ron Zook's dismissal and the hiring of Tim Beckman, Illinois had already lost defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. Koenning was the man who helped build one of the best defenses in not only the Big Ten, but the entire country. Now the Illini are on the verge of losing the most devastating force on that defense.

Defensive end Whitney Mercilus announced on Tuesday that he would be entering the NFL Draft.

"After a lot of prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided the time is right for me to forgo my senior year and enter the 2012 NFL draft," said Mercilus in a statement.

Mercilus was an absolute beat for Illinois on the defensive line in 2011. Mercilus was named a first-team All-American this season, and deservedly so. He finished his junior season tying the school record for sacks in a season with 16, and he set a Big Ten record with 9 forced fumbles on the year. A mark that is the second-highest of all-time in college football. Tack on his 22 1/2 tackles for loss, which also led the Big Ten, and you get a lot of quarterbacks around the Big Ten high-fiving each other on Tuesday morning.

They can all breath a bit easier now.

Mercilus is ranked third amongst defensive ends by CBSSports.com behind USC's Nick Perry and LSU's Sam Montgomery, both of whom are underclassmen as well. Neither have declared for the draft as of yet, which would leave Mercilus at the top of the list for now.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com