Tag:Early Entries
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:06 pm

Cam Newton will now be paid to play

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Okay, get the "you mean he'll be paid more to play" jokes out of the way now.  In an announcement that should come as a shock to absolutely nobody who has paid an ounce of attention to college football this season, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is leaving school to enter the NFL draft.  Auburn released a statement on Thursday night confirming the news.

"This decision was difficult for me and my family," Newton said in the release. "After talking to Coach Chizik and Coach Malzahn, I think it is best that I make that next step in my career and forgo my senior season and enter the NFL Draft. It was a very hard decision for me, especially after coming off the great season we had at Auburn. I'm blessed to have been around an excellent environment and have great teammates, coaches and support from the Auburn family.

"It's been a blessing for me to be a part of something so great.  Any time you win games it's a big deal, but for this school to win a BCS National Championship, what a way to make people happy. Auburn is a special place that I can call home."

There was no reason for Newton to stick around Auburn.  He's already won the Heisman Trophy and a BCS title, and with that whole NCAA investigation looming over his head, why would he bother dealing with another year of the allegations? 

Of course, this does present a bit of a problem for Auburn.  Without Newton around, the Tigers aren't going to be ranked number one to start next season, and they may not even be in the top ten.  Especially when you consider that Auburn will likely be without its best defensive player next season as well.  Nick Fairley will be making an announcement about his draft status on Friday, and you generally don't hold press conferences at your high school when you intend on returning to college for another season.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 1:13 pm

Randall Cobb is going pro

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Randall Cobb is one of those football players who, if he went to a school that got more national attention than Kentucky does, would widely be considered one of the best players in college football.  He's already one of the most versatile.  Maybe now that he'll be playing on Sundays, people will start to notice.

Cobb announced on Thursday that he'll be foregoing his final season at Kentucky and enter the NFL draft this spring.  Losing Cobb, along with running back Derrick Locke, will leave a large void in the Kentucky offense as Cobb did just about everything for the Wildcats.  Cobb finishes the season with 84 catches for 1,017 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Of course, that was just when he lined up as a receiver.

Cobb has also rushed for 405 yards with another two touchdowns, thrown for three touchdowns, and has picked up 955 yards on kick and punt returns, along with another touchdown.  I'm pretty sure he teaches a chemistry class in Lexington as well.

While he's not likely to be a first round pick in the draft, his overall talents make it likely that he'll be taken either late in the second round or in the third.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 5:56 pm

Iowa's Tyler Sash entering NFL draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When it comes to projecting the strength of Iowa's defense the last few seasons, a lot of people bring up the name of Adrian Clayborn and other members of the Hawkeyes defensive line.  The reasons for this are obvious, as Clayborn was a one man wrecking crew in 2009, but safety Tyler Sash has always had a knack for making huge plays for the Iowa defense when they're most needed.  And now it seems that the Hawkeyes are going to have to find somebody to replace Sash as well.

According to Matt Bowen, Sash is going to forego his final season at Iowa and enter the NFL Draft.

In his three seasons with the Hawkeyes, Sash has picked off 13 passes, and is also a force in stopping the run.  He's the type of player whom, although he's projected to be a mid-round pick, can make an immediate impact for a defense on the NFL level.  Whether as a starter in the secondary, or on special teams, the kid is just a football player.

Sash was an All-Big Ten selection in both 2009 and 2010.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:28 pm

Illinois losing LeShoure to NFL

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Monday Illinois lost one of its best players on defense to the NFL draft in Martez Wilson, and on Tuesday the Illini lost their biggest weapon on offense as well.  Though it didn't come as much of a shock, Illinois can't be all that excited to hear that running back Mikel LeShoure will forego his senior season in Champaign and enter the NFL draft.

"I know it wasn't an easy choice," LeShoure's mother, Jazz Jones told the Champaign News-Gazette. "He did his homework as far as weighing his options. He looked at the pros and cons of leaving and the pros and cons of staying."

"[Ron Zook] said Mikel has proven to him that he is capable of anything.  He wished Mikel well. He spoke very highly of the maturity Mikel has shown. He said he's going to do whatever he can to help my son. I appreciate what he has done for my son."

Unfortunately for Ron Zook, he'll not only have to replace LeShoure's production next season, but he can't even attend the press conference LeShoure will be announcing his decision at.  It's being held in his former high school, and since it's the recruiting dead period, no coaches are allowed in any high schools right now.  Not even for a press conference.

LeShoure is coming off the most prolific season in Illinois history as a running back, rushing for 1,697 yards and 17 touchdowns, including a 330 yard performance against Northwestern at Wrigley Field.  He was also on the end of three receiving touchdowns.  
Posted on: January 10, 2011 3:47 pm

Quizz is done with quizzes

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Today is just not a good day to be an Oregon State fan.  Not only do you have to watch your hated rival play for a national championship tonight, but now you're getting the news that one of the best players on your team won't be coming back to Corvallis next season.  Running back Jacquizz Rodgers will be announcing his decision to forego his senior season at Oregon State and enter the NFL Draft.

The school will announce Rodgers' decision this afternoon in a teleconference at 2pm PST.

If there's any good news for the Beavers, though, it's that at least James Rodgers will be back next season.  Even if he doesn't have his brother around with him.

Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 1,184 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.  All told, in his three-year career with the Beavers, Rodgers tallied 4,933 yards rushing and receiving, with 51 touchdowns.  That, my friends, is a lot of production to replace. 
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:09 pm

Illinois' Martez Wilson entering NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's one that may be considered a bit of a head-scratcher.  it seems that Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson will be leaving school early to take a shot at the pros, as he's filed his papers to enter the NFL Draft.  The reason I say it's a bit surprising is that Wilson, who was a highly-related recruit when Ron Zook landed him in Champaign, has had a bit of a rough road since his college career started.  Still, that doesn't seem to have any affect on his decision.

"I know I can get better but I'm ready to make this move," Wilson said. "I can play inside or outside. I will be a versatile NFL player.

"College has been a great experience and I've matured greatly. I appreciate what I have now and I've been making good decisions."

Wilson's career in Champaign was a bit of a roller coaster.  In his three years at the school he's had to deal with being stabbed in a bar fight, and a broken vertabrae in his neck.  He's also battled through a bunch of smaller injuries -- other injuries would have to be smaller than those -- but did finally have a solid season in 2010.  Still, though he'll be getting his degree this May, in my opinion Wilson would have been better off returning to school for another season.

Another season like the one he had in 2010 would have improved his stock quite a bit.  Of course, given the things that have happened to him while he was in college, I guess it's hard to blame him for wanting to get out as quickly as possible.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:28 am

Patrick Peterson to enter draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Florida may be getting Janoris Jenkins back for another season, another SEC cornerback, who many consider to be the best in the country, won't be following the same path.  At a press conference on Monday afternoon, LSU cornerback and return specialist Patrick Peterson will make the announcement that he won't be coming back to Baton Rouge for his senior season, but will be entering the NFL Draft.

"I have to make the decision that's best for me," said Peterson. "It was a pleasure the years I was here. When that decision comes down, I believe they (LSU fans) will still be Patrick Peterson fans."

It's a smart decision for Peterson to make.  Now that Andrew Luck has decided to stay at Stanford for another season, Peterson's draft stock has only risen.  Our own Rob Rang envisions the Carolina Panthers taking him with the first overall pick.  Just about every mock draft you'll see has Peterson going in the top five.

Peterson had 42 tackles, 10 passes defended, and four interceptions for LSU this season.  He also returned two punts for touchdowns.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:14 am

Janoris Jenkins returning to Florida

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems like Janoris Jenkins has had a change of heart.  Last week there had been reports that the Florida cornerback, who missed the Outback Bowl with a torn labrum, was going to enter the NFL Draft.  Well, he's not.  It turns out that one of the better cover corners in the country has decided to come back to Gainesville to play under Will Muschamp.  Who, as you'd expect from the defensive-minded coach, is happy to hear the news.

“I’m excited. I would have supported him in whatever decision he made, but I commend him for making a mature decision,” said Muschamp. “It would have been real easy for Janoris to make an emotional choice and leave early, but with our contacts in the NFL, we were able to assist him in understanding his draft status and he could make an educated decision.”

What those contacts told Jenkins, I don't know, but both of our mock drafters had Jenkins going 13th overall to the Detroit Lions.  Maybe Muschamp had some friends pretend to be NFL contacts and tell Jenkins he was a third round pick?

Jenkins had three interceptions for the Gators in 2010, and has had eight in his three-year career.
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