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Tag:2012 NFL Draft Early Entries
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Tyler Eifert returning to Notre Dame

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The 2011 Notre Dame season has come to an end much the same way the 2010 season did, in that Brian Kelly isn't sure who his starting quarterback will be next season. The good news for Kelly is that while he may not know who he'll have taking the snaps next season, whoever it is will still have tight end Tyler Eifert around to throw the ball to.

According to Irish Illustrated, Eifert informed the Notre Dame coaching staff of his decision on Friday.

"He's really come around and wants to come back," said Tyler's father Greg Eifert. "He wants to come back, get bigger, get stronger and get to a BCS bowl next year."

This is very good news for a Notre Dame offense that is already losing its biggest playmaker in Michael Floyd to the NFL, as Eifert finished the 2011 season second on the team in receptions (63), yards (803) and touchdowns (5). Eifert had submitted his NFL paperwork and was told that he was a third round pick, which was the same grade Michael Floyd heard from the NFL last season before deciding to return to South Bend. Floyd is now a consensus first round pick.

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:13 pm
 

PODCAST: The NFL Draft, PSU and BCS Bowls

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There have been many announcements in the last few days from players saying that they were either leaving or staying in school for another year, and on today's episode of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst discuss the decisions made by players like Montee Ball, Landry Jones, Jerel Worthy and others.

Aizer and Darst also take some time to talk about Penn State's hiring of Bill O'Brien and discuss what we can take away from the BCS bowl games we saw this year.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 5:46 pm
 

Sooner QB Landry Jones returning for senior year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



2011 may have been a disappointment for the preseason No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners. But their chances for redemption in 2012 just took a major step forward.

Record-setting junior quarterback Landry Jones announced Thursday in a statement issued by the Sooner program that he would be returning for his senior season in Norman and postponing his chance to be a first-round NFL Draft pick. Jones had been rated the 22nd prospect overall by NFLDraftScout.com and had been projected by some to go in the first 15 picks if he had declared early. 

“I want to accomplish the goals that I set before I got here, and there is still a lot more to do,” Jones said. “I want to make sure I’ve exhausted every effort in that area.  And I want to be a senior.  I enjoy being at OU and with my teammates and look forward to graduating with the guys that were in my class when I got here.”

Jones is already Oklahoma's all-time leader in both passing yards (with 12,389) and passing touchdowns (89). He has started 38 games for the Sooners, posting a record of 30-8. Jones quarterbacked the Sooners to both Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl championships in 2010.

Despite those accomplishments, Jones' draft stock fell late in the 2011 season as both he and the Sooner offense struggled in the wake of All-American receiver Ryan Broyles' season-ending injury. In the final three games of the Sooners' regular season, all without Broyles -- and against Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, not exactly a defensive murderer's row -- Jones totaled no touchdowns and five interceptions, while averaging just 6.6 yards per passing attempt.

After those disappointments, the expectation was that Jones would return and attempt to solidify his draft stock with a better season in 2012. But Bob Stoops was nonetheless relieved by Jones' decision.

“We know the positive influence Landry has on and off the field with our team,” Stoops said.  “We’re excited that he’s coming back to build on what has already been an outstanding career.  We expect another great year from him, and like the fact that he’s determined to be even better.”

Despite linebacker Ronnell Lewis's decision to enter the draft earlier Thursday, Jones' return will no doubt have Oklahoma among the favorites -- if not the favorite -- to reclaim the Big 12 title in 2012. It's a role Jones sounds like he has no problem with the Sooners adopting.

“We hope to have another opportunity to make a title run,” he said.  “Most of the offensive line returns and we have several receivers and backs return too.  We’ve also got a lot of guys back on defense, so we’re confident that we can be a strong team.”

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:03 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 4:05 pm
 

Montee Ball is making a mistake

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Thursday Wisconsin running back Montee Ball made the announcement that he would be coming back to Wisconsin for his senior season. A commendable decision by Ball considering the season he just had in Madison, finishing the year with 2,229 yards and 39 touchdowns, and going to New York as a Heisman finalist.

That being said, I don't think this is the right decision for Ball to make.

At the moment Ball is ranked as the sixth best 2012 NFL draft prospect amongst running backs by Rob Rang and 80th overall, and he'd likely be a middle round pick. Yes, it's possible that his draft stock will improve after staying at Wisconsin for another season, but that doesn't mean staying in school will help him have a longer, more successful pro career. In fact, it could seriously hinder his chances.

While there are some positions like quarterback where players are better served to stay in college and get another year of experience under their belts, running back is generally not one of those positions. This is due to the wear and tear that running backs endure during a season of football, on both the college and pro levels, and there aren't many programs that can wear down a back like Wisconsin.

A running back's legs only have so many miles on them. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule as we've seen in the past from guys like Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, but backs like those two don't come around very often. For a glimpse of what does happen more frequently, Ball need not look past his own program and some of the great rushers in the school's history.

For example, there's Heisman Trophy winner and the NCAA's all-time leading rusher Ron Dayne. In his four seasons at Wisconsin Dayne carried the ball 1,220 times for 7,125 yards. In his seven NFL seasons after being a first round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2000, Dayne carried the ball 983 times for 3,722 yards. Dayne never had the success in the NFL that he had while at Wisconsin, and while that's partially due to his build -- Ron was never the slimmest guy around -- you can easly look at those 1,220 carries in college as a factor as well. There weren't many miles left on those legs by the time he joined the Giants.

More recently there was Ball's former teammate John Clay. Clay only played three seasons with the Badgers and had half as many carries as Dayne in his career with 629 rushes, but his legs began breaking down before he even left for the NFL. Clay went undrafted last April before signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. So far in his rookie season with the Steelers, Clay has carried the ball only 10 times. Yes, the jury is still out on his NFL career, but given that he wasn't even drafted and only saw time in Pittsburgh's backfield due to injuries, it's reasonable to think that Clay won't end up in Canton one day.

The good news for Ball is that while he carried the ball 307 times in 2011 -- more than Clay ever had in any season, and more than Dayne had in two seasons at Wisconsin -- he only had 261 rushes in his first two seasons in Madison. So there's plenty of tread left on the tires, but given that Russell Wilson will not be back in 2012, there's enough reason to believe that Ball's workload will only increase next year. Which would not be good news for his longevity.

The other bonus for Ball is that he's a lot smaller than both Dayne and Clay ever were, slimming down to 210 pounds for his junior season for the sole purpose of saving some wear and tear.

Still, given the history of some of Wisconsin's greatest running backs, it's pretty clear that if Ball is hoping to have a long and successful pro career, he should make the move sooner rather than later. Playing football is not a profession with a long shelf-life, especially for running backs, and if Ball wants to have a long professional career, he'd be better off starting it in 2012 rather than 2013.

Check out where Ball, and all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early 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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:02 pm
 

Montee Ball returning to Wisconsin

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It wasn't the world's best kept secret, but a day after word began leaking out that Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was planning on returning to Madison for his senior season, the running back made it official on Thursday.

Montee Ball will be a Wisconsin Badger in 2012.

This is great news for Wisconsin, obviously, as Ball was the key component of Wisconsin's offense in 2011, more so than quarterback Russell Wilson. Ball rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns for Wisconsin this season, while catching another 24 passes for 306 yards and 6 more scores. His 39 touchdowns accounted for 234 of the 618 points the Badgers scored in their 2011 season, which ended earlier this week with a second consecutive Rose Bowl loss.

Ball could be even more important for the Badgers next season in their quest to get back to Pasadena for the third straight season, as Russell Wilson won't be back and a new quarterback will be under center. A new quarterback that would be well-served to turn around and hand the ball off to the 2011 Heisman finalist as many times as possible.

Had Ball decided to enter the NFL Draft, he would have gone in as the sixth-best running back according to CBSSports.com's Rob Rang, and 80th best prospect overall. Instead he'll be scoring more touchdowns and jumping around in Camp Randall for another season. 

Check out where all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early 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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 3:53 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 3:54 pm
 

Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis is going pro

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Oklahoma's defensive line will be without one of its best players in 2012. Defensive end Ronnell Lewis announced on Thursday that he would forego his senior season at Oklahoma and enter the NFL Draft.

"After meeting with my family and coaches and gathering input from various resources, including the NFL, I’ve carefully weighed my options and have decided to forego my senior year at OU and enter the 2012 NFL Draft," said Lewis in a release. "My time at OU has produced many fond memories and I hope to keep close ties with my friends, teammates, coaches, football staff and everyone at OU who has helped me along the way. I’d like to personally thank the University of Oklahoma and Coach Stoops for giving me the opportunity to be a Sooner and play on Saturdays in front of the best fans in the country. Without the support of my coaches, my family and so many others, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ll definitely miss my time in Norman, but I’m looking forward to what the future holds. Boomer Sooner!"

“Ronnell leaves with our best wishes," said Bob Stoops. "He managed several challenges while playing here, but always worked hard and gave us his very best effort. He has the skill to be a successful NFL player and we feel he’ll do well there. As with any of our players who reach for the top level, he won’t have any bigger fans than those of us at OU.”

Stoops may wish Lewis well in the NFL, but his departure means that Oklahoma will be without both of its starting defensive ends next season, as Frank Alexander will graduate this spring.

CBSSports.com's Rob Rang has Lewis marked as an outside linebacker in the NFL, and he's ranked sixth among all outside linebacker prospects in the 2012 draft class.

Lewis had 60 tackles for the Sooners in 2011, including 13 for loss and 5.5 sacks. 

Check out where Lewis, and all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early 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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 1:16 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 7:49 pm
 

Brock Osweiler to enter NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

New Arizona State head coach Todd Graham has received an unexpected and unwelcome surprise. After originally indicating that he was likely to return to Arizona State for his senior season, quarterback Brock Osweiler -- who is 6'8 by the way -- will declare himself eligible for this spring's NFL Draft.

As for why Osweiler had such a change of heart, there's some speculation that it has to do with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone leaving the program. Osweiler was visibly upset about the departure of Mazzone when discussing Mazzone's influence on him after Arizona State's loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

It seems that Osweiler now thinks that he's better off giving the NFL a chance rather than having to learn a new system under Todd Graham in his senior year.

Osweiler's departure is a big blow to the Sun Devils offense. He became the first quarterback in school history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season in 2011, finishing the year with 4,036 yards and 26 touchdowns. More importantly than his production, there's not exactly a lot of experience behind Osweiler on the Arizona State depth chart. Freshmen Mike Bercovici and Taylor Kelly are listed behind Osweiler on the Arizona State depth chart, and the duo threw a grand total of 7 passes for the Sun Devils this season.

There's no doubt that Todd Graham would have preferred to go into his first season at Arizona State with Osweiler manning the helm as both Kelly and Bercovici spent a season on the sideline learning the offense.

Check out where Osweiler, and all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early 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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com