UConn LB Yawin Smallwood to enter 2014 NFL Draft

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Yawin Smallwood (No. 33) will leave after his junior year to enter the draft.  (USATSI)
Yawin Smallwood (No. 33) will leave after his junior year to enter the draft. (USATSI)

UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood penned an open letter to announce his intentions to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Huskies' linebacker, rated as the No. 9 inside linebacker prospect in the 2014 draft class according to CBSSports.com, finished his collegiate career with seven tackles and two sacks in UConn's 45-10 win against Memphis.

Smallwood led the team in 2013 with 118 tackles and four sacks, adding 9.5 tackles for loss and an interception to an impressive senior season despite UConn's struggles.

According to CBSSports.com NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler, Smallwood is "likely a top-100 prospect and day two selection."

"At 6-2 and 244 pounds, Smallwood has NFL size and length with the strength to match, displaying the toughness and energy to finish tackles," Brugler writes. "He plays fast downhill, but also flashes the range to drop and cover the sidelines. Although he's leaving after his junior season, Smallwood has a very productive resume with 36 starts and 332 total tackles the past three seasons."

After the dismissal of Paul Pasqualoni and starting the season 0-9, UConn finished with three straight wins under interim coach T.J. Weist. Athletic director Warde Manuel told reporters that interviews for a new football coach will begin Sunday, but would not say whether Weist would get an interview. However, sources told CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler that Weist will be interviewed as a candidate for the permanent job.

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