For the second time in three years, FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington will be losing a record-breaking underclassman to the allure of professional football.
Two-time All-American wide receiver Brandon Kaufman has signed with an agent according to the school's website, thereby giving up any collegiate eligibility. He is hoping to join former teammate Taiwan Jones, who aso left EWU after his junior season. The speedy running back was a fourth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2011. Safety Matt Johnson went the more conventional route and the senior was a fourth-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys last April.
Like Jones, who rushed for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2010, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Kaufman proved to be a virtual man amongst boys at the FCS level.
Playing in 42 games over four seasons, Kaufman hauled in 221 passes for 3,731 yards and 33 touchdowns. He currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 24 wide receiver for the 2013 draft and a potential fifth- to sixth-round pick.
As the featured target in Eastern's spread offense, Kaufman was sure to be productive. But it's his size, deceptive build-up speed, reliable hands and, frankly, his consistency, which has caught the attention of talent evaluators.
Kaufman's breakout sophomore campaign came in 2010 when he caught 76 passes for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns and helped lead the Eagles to the national championship with nine catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the title game against Delaware.
He missed all but the first four games of the 2011 season with hand and knee injuries which required surgery but bounced back nicely in 2012, breaking the FCS single-season record with 1,850 receiving yards on 93 catches (19.9 yard average) and scoring 16 touchdowns.
While much of his production came against questionable competition, Kaufman was awfully impressive when pitted against BCS opponents, as well. While the secondaries at Washington, Washington State, Idaho and Nevada aren't going to be confused with NFL units any time soon, Kaufman averaged six receptions for 116.25 yards and scored three touchdowns in these games.
Under head coach Beau Baldwin (and previously Paul Wulff) the Eagles have become one of FCS' most explosive offenses. They'll have their work cut out for them in 2013, however, as their talented receiving corps of Baldwin and seniors Nicholas Edwards and Greg Herd have exhausted their eligibility.
Junior quarterback Kyle Padron, a transfer from Southern Methodist, has not enrolled in classes for winter quarter and, according to the school's release "presumably will [be pursuing] his own opportunities at the professional level."
Can't keep track of all the underclassmen news? NFLDraftScout.com has you covered with this handy Underclassmen Tracker as we count down to the January 15 deadline.