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. January 6th: Updates from the state of Alabama.
* Despite playing in the national title game at the time of this posting, I’m told Auburn running back Tre Mason has already set up a host of interviews with agents later this week. To repeat something we first reported from our podcast January 2nd, it would be a surprise if Mason does not enter the draft.
* While this won’t be a surprise to most, the expectations from those involved with the Auburn football team is offensive tackle Greg Robinson will also enter the draft.
* As posted on twitter, at least three Alabama juniors have meetings set with agents. They include safety Hasean Clinton-Dix, outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard and offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. One interesting note from Kouandjio; he’s having an outside “adviser” run the show- almost a sure sign he’ll enter the draft.
* I’m told tonight’s Holiday Bowl is likely the last college game for Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro and the word is he’s narrowed his agent search down to just a pair of organizations. Amaro is rated as our number one tight end.
* The Holiday Bowl may also be the final college game for Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford. While I’ve not heard Bradford has specifically stated he will enter the draft I am told he has been entertaining meetings and material from agents.
* As previously mentioned, I expect Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt to enter the draft. Latest word is Fortt has people close to him vetting agents to prepare for the jump.
* The latest I’m hearing is Ryan Shazier will definitely enter the draft. If not definite its about 99%. I’m told Shazier’s father has begun contacting agents in preparation for the linebackers NFL career.
* While I can say with 99% certainty Mississippi receiver Donte Moncrief will enter the draft I’ve also been told the junior and his parents will sit down with Rebels coach Hugh Freeze to talk about the future. Expect Freeze to go all out to convince Moncrief to stay.
* Another coach working 24/7 to re-recruit a player is Jim Mora of UCLA. In fact I’m told the entire Bruins coaching staff is working overtime in their attempt to convince quarterback Brett Hundley to return. As previously stated in an earlier podcast, Hundley himself is leaning strongly towards opting for the draft.
* I expect to receive further word on the situation at College Station tomorrow but I was told “it’s a done deal” in reference to receiver Mike Evans entering the draft. The feeling at this point in time is tackle Cedric Ogbuehi will likely return, but that’s not set in stone.
* I’ve reported for some time now Oregon State will lose receiver Brandin Cooks. I learned today defensive end/outside linebacker Scott Crichton will also enter the draft. The surprising news is quarterback Sean Mannion is evidently leaning towards entering the draft.
* A source close to the situation told me they believe its “70/30” at this point Blake Bortles/QB/Central Florida enters the draft.
* After several stories stating Melvin Gordon/RB/Wisconsin would return to school for another season, sources tell me the tune coming from his camp is now changing. As reported Gordon filed paperwork to receive a grade from the advisory committee. I’m told by good sources a 2nd round grade would likely push Gordon into the draft. I’m told the Wisconsin coaching staff is working hard to keep Gordon.
* Another underclassman waiting on a grade from the advisory committee is Martin Ifedi/DE/Memphis. I’ve been hearing for months Ifedi, who finished the season with 11.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, was considering the draft.
* Following up on our report from December 9th that most expect A.C. Leonard/TE/Tennessee State to announce he’s entering the draft, I’ve been informed several areas scouts stamped Leonard with a 3rd/4th round grade.
* Another small school player I’m told received 3rd round grades from scouts is Zach Moore/DE/Concordia-St Paul. As tweeted last week, Moore will be playing in the NFLPA game next month.
* 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.