With a little more than a month before underclassmen must make their final decision, what’s the latest word on players considering the NFL in the very near future? Tony Pauline offers the latest. December 9th: Another junior tight end ready to declare?
* Sources close to the USC football program tell me the chances are very likely Hayes Pullard/LB/USC enters the draft. Pullard has evidently told people he feels he’s ready for the next level.
* I’m told Chris Young/LB/Arizona State, is giving serious consideration to entering next year’s draft. Young is finishing up a career season, leading the Sun Devils in tackles with 103 while also posting 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
* All along I’ve heard rumblings red-shirt sophomore Benardrick McKinney/LB/Mississippi State was considering the 2014 draft. Latest word is McKinney will likely return to school for the 2014 campaign, which is his best option. On film the McKinney flashes dominance and the ability to take over games but he’s inconsistent. McKinney has first round potential if he’s able to elevate his game and consistently play at a high level.
* We’ve reported on several occasions word was A.C. Leonard/TE/Tennessee State would enter the draft. As of noon today I’m told an official announcement could be just around the corner.
* What’s the latest on Brett Hundley/QB/UCLA? Numerous sources tell me Hundley wants to enter the draft but all the feedback he’s receiving has recommended he return for another season. I’m told those close to Hundley will advise him to stay in school another season and the program is working hard to re-recruit their signal caller. It comes down to whether Hundley will be happy as a second round pick in 2014 or wants to enter the 2015 draft as a potential top ten selection if things work out.
* Many out west have told me it’s a forgone conclusion Bishop Sankey/RB/Washington will enter the draft. Ditto for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, whose met with a number of agents. I’m also hearing rumblings that cornerback Marcus Peters, a redshirt sophomore who hauled in five interceptions and broke up nine more passes this season, is also giving consideration to leaving for the NFL. The question is how does the arrival of Chris Petersen play into the equation? Speculatively it could be a game changer for Peters returning, considering the success Petersen had developing cornerbacks at Boise State. For Sankey, the running back must decide how much he can elevate his draft stock by returning for another season. I’d be very surprised if Seferian-Jenkins does not enter the draft.
* I’m told Antonio Richardson/T/Tennessee, who publically announced his intentions to enter the draft today, initially wanted to do as much several weeks ago but held back after coaches requested as much.
* From the American Athletic Conference, sources tell me linebacker Yawin Smallwood of UConn is heavily leaning towards entering the draft. No surprise here as Jon Dove and I reported this several weeks ago. Additional rumblings from the conference has South Florida defensive end/outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, a redshirt sophomore who began his career at Notre Dame, closely examining his options and considering the draft.