Several big news conferences on the horizon today as more and more underclassmen make their decisions official. We’ve got breaking news on players who will be in front of a podium today and information on some who will announce their future plans in coming days! Also information on a senior sleeper moving up draft boads.
– Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is presently training in Florida with other top draft prospects and will announce his future intentions at a press conference next week. You may remember Gronkowski sat out the season with a back injury. Gronkowski is training in Florida to test his back. Sources have told us if his back is able to withstand the training and there are no ill effects, Gronkowski will enter the draft. The feeling right now is there’s a 75% chance he enters the draft. Gronkowski received a 1st/2nd round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.
– One player who did not receive a high grade from the advisory committee and has decided to return to school is Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling. We had been reporting since November that Dowling was leaning towards entering the draft. Two factors played into his return to UVA for 2010; Dowling received a 3rd round grade from the advisory committee, which is how we’ve always ranked him, and the hiring of Mike London as the new Cavalier coach.
– Coaching was also a factor in the decision by Jevan Snead to enter the draft. We reported on Tuesday that Snead was expected to return to Mississippi for his senior season- so why the quick reversal? Sources have told us Snead was informed by the Ole Miss coaching staff the starting job was no longer his and there would be an open competition for the spot beginning this spring.
– Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray received a 2nd/3rd round grade from the advisory committee and is up in the air as to where he’ll be playing next season. Had he received a first round grade Murray would have entered the draft.
– Texas A&M defender Von Miller met with Aggie coach Mike Sherman yesterday to discuss his future. We’ve reported all along Miller is likely to enter the draft and as of yesterday that is the way he’s still leaning. Miller received a second round grade from the advisory committee.
– Reports say Ryan Mallett will announce he is returning to Arkansas next season at a press conference later today. We hear it was a real struggle for Mallett to get to that decision. Sources have told us the Razorback coaching staff was on Mallett’s back all throughout preparations for the Liberty Bowl and claimed the big armed passer was concentrating more on his NFL future than his next game with the Razorbacks.
– Another player that’s been struggling with his decision is Wisconsin center John Moffitt. Evidently Moffitt received little help from the Wisconsin coaching staff in filing a request for a draft grade from the advisory committee and the paperwork was never sent in. Moffitt wants to be assured an invitation to the combine before he announces for the draft, something no one can give him. Moffitt, who is 23 years old right now, does not like the prospects of potentially being a 25-year-old rookie in 2011.
– Demaryius Thomas is holding a press conference this afternoon to announce his decision and most believe the big Georgia Tech wide out will enter the draft. Running back Jonathan Dwyer is also leaning heavily towards entering.
– From the seniors front, sources have told us the Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley, who was injured through most of the season, is presently 99% and should be fully healthy by the Senior Bowl.
– One sleeper who really caught the attention of scouts late in the year was Hawaii linebacker Blaze Soares. The 6’1’’, 240-pound linebacker runs a verified 4.5 in the forty. After not playing in 2008 he returned to lead Hawaii in tackles last season with 107. Scouts like his potential in a variety of defensive systems.