Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:57 am

Miami CB Brandon Harris declaring early

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With Randy Shannon gone from Miami , any Hurricanes he recruited to Coral Gables aren't too likely to stick around if they believe the NFL will give them a fair shake in the draft. So it's no surprise that two-time All-ACC cornerback Brandon Harris has elected to move on to the next level after his junior season :

“I’ve done a lot of thinking, going over it with my family and I got some advice for some former coaches, people who have been involved with me closely and I just decided that it was just time for me to declare for this year‘s NFL Draft,” Harris announced to InsideTheU Wednesday morning.

Harris finished seventh on the team with 45 tackles this past season. He also had one interception, two forced fumbles, and nine pass break-ups en route to second-team all-conference honors.

He received an encouraging grade from the NFL Draft advisory committee prior to the Sun Bowl that he was satisfied with.

“The committed told me some great things after they evaluated my film,” Harris said. “The position I was in it was kind of the point that it was hard to turn down. I’ve worked my butt off to get to this point, I did everything I could possibly do to set myself up to be in this position one day. Now that I am actually here, it’s time to take that next step, and see where I can go from here.”

The advisory committee hasn't always had cornerbacks' best interests in mind (witness Michigan's Donovan Warren coming out last spring after an encouraging grade, only to go undrafted), but with a handful of 2009 All-American honors under his belt, a major role on the nation's third-ranked pass defense, and a firm spot on the NFL's radar , Harris isn't in any danger of slipping too far down the draft.

But if the move makes a lot of sense from Harris's position, it's not going to help a Miami secondary that's already losing two seniors from the two-deep at corner. Al Golden will have to find some players willing to grow up in a hurry to keep the 'Cane pass defense anywhere near the lofty perch it enjoyed in 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2011 3:24 pm

Indiana wideout Tandon Doss to declare for draft

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not just the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world who have to deal with early departures for the greener grass of the NFL, unfortunately for teams like Indiana, who despite their 5-7 record appear to be losing second-leading receiver Tandon Doss. According to this report from the Indiana student paper, Doss has already informed new Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson that he will enter the draft and not return for his senior season in Bloomington.

One the one hand, it's a surprise almost by definition for a player with the label "Indiana's second-leading receiver" to be declaring early; Indiana's never been a hotbed of draftable talent, and Doss's statistics -- 63 receptions, 706 yards, 7 touchdowns -- are nice but don't exactly scream "NFL-ready receiving prospect." On top of that, Wilson's Oklahoma offenses were consistently some of the most explosive in the country, and even without departed senior quarterback Ben Chappell, Doss might have found himself riding the updrafts from a suddenly-buzzworthy Hooiser attack next season.

But on the other: without Chappell and with Wilson learning the ropes as a head coach, there's nothing guaranteed for anyone on the Hooiser offense, particularly not a receiver battling the likes of current No. 1 Damarlo Belcher and rising big-play threat Duwyce Wilson for catches. Doss should be able to turn at least a few pro heads, too, as a 6'3", 200-pound target with hands enough to collect 140 receptions the last two years. He may be entirely correct that another year in Bloomington won't do a thing for his draft stock, while it's always possible an injury or crater year for the offense lowers it past the point of being drafted.

Indiana fans won't be happy. But Doss has as many reasons for going as for staying, and it's hard to blame any prospect in that situation from trying to earn a paycheck as quickly as possible.

Posted on: December 30, 2010 4:34 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:36 pm

LaMichael James returning in 2011 for Oregon

Posted by Chip Patterson

In news that may possibly be considered somewhere between "good" and "freaking fantastic,"  Oregon running back LaMichael James announced that he plans to return to the Ducks in 2011.  Head coach Chip Kelly said that nine underclassmen evaluated their NFL draft options, and all nine would be returning to the Ducks next season.  James' made his return official through the school's website.

“I came to the University of Oregon to get a quality education as well as to play football, and feel I have yet to complete that goal,” James said in the official release on GoDucks.com.

After leading the nation in rushing, and finishing third in the Heisman balloting, there is certainly plenty of upside for the sophomore to make the jump.  But for those close to the program, there is little surprise that the first team Pac-10 academic all-league choice is taking his education seriously.  Returning to school also basically guarantees him Oregon's all-time rushing record.  A mark that he is currently just 68 yards shy of reaching.

It also helps the team's focus heading into the media frenzy associated with the National Championship Game.  Having this matter sorted out before the questions are answered will help keep Oregon's focus on the field.  Considering the many off-field issues Auburn will continue to have to avoid answering discuss, this could be considered a slight intangibles advantage for the Ducks.  Might not make a huge difference, but if this game is as close as we hope and expect, every little thing will count.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 9:46 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 1:59 am

Report: A.J. Green to declare for draft [UPDATED]

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

[UPDATE: Green has told his Twitter followers that this report is "100% false." It's unclear whether that means he has not decided to declare for the draft or that he is definitely returning to Georgia.]

It's not surprising -- in fact, it's the complete opposite of surprising -- but it appears Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green will be declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , citing a report from a local Atlanta television station, is reporting that Green has made his decision and that he is "100 percent" committed to turning pro after his junior season.

While the timing of the report could be better where the Bulldogs' focus for a tricky-looking Liberty Bowl date against UCF is concerned, Green's decision has been expected virtually from the moment he arrived in Athens and put 963 receiving yards on more than 17 yards a completion as a true freshman. Over his three-year career, no one in the country hauled in highlight-worthy receptions more often than Green, and it will be a shock if Green goes any lower than the first six or seven selections in the draft.

So while Georgia can't claim to have not seen this coming, it won't keep them from being disappointed. Even for all of Green's immense talent, his three years in red-and-black coincide with the three most disappointing seasons of the Mark Richt era in Athens. The 2008 Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 preseason and lost three games, including a 49-10 humiliation against Florida; the 2009 team limped into the bowl season at 7-5 after an upset loss to Kentucky; and the 2010 Dawgs dropped all the way to .500 after even Green's return from suspension couldn't save them from falling to hopeless Colorado.

Green will be fondly remembered by Bulldog fans for his jaw-dropping talent, incredible catches, and even his blocked field goal to save a game against Arizona State in 2009. But assuming the Liberty is in fact his last performance for Georgia -- and there's no reaso nto think it won't be -- he'll also be remembered with the tinge of disappointment that the Bulldogs couldn't accomplish more with him around.

Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:51 pm

Miami CB Harris talks Al Golden, NFL Draft

Posted by Chip Patterson

New Miami head coach Al Golden had his first chance to officially meet with his players earlier this week, spending about an hour with them before his introductory press conference on Monday.  According to reports, he made quite an impression on the team; discussing plans to elevate the program back to the next level and competing for national championships.  But was his argument persuasive enough to keep talented underclassmen like cornerback Brandon Harris on board for their senior season?

“It was one of those things where you’re a little worried coming into it. You don’t know what to expect. It’s like, ‘Man, I don’t know who they’re bringing in,’” Harris said referring to Golden's hire. “Just hearing him talk, the passion he has to be here, how much he feels he can do for this program, it really relaxed everybody a little bit. It kind of took the doubt out of our minds if he could get it done.”

Whether or not Harris will stick around to "get it done" is still up in the air.  He told the Miami Herald that he would not seriously think about the decision until after Miami faces Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl on December 31.  After then, he will begin gathering information on his projected draft status; which appears to be one of the major factors in his decision.

"If It's something you can't turn away from, then obviously it's a different situation," Harris said. "If your not going to be a guaranteed first round pick, I don't think I would consider leaving at all. I would love to come back and play for another year. If it's not a guarantee, sure thing I wouldn't even think about it. Even if it isn't guaranteed, it's still something I'm going to weigh my options on coming back and maturing myself a little more as a player and as a person."

As of now, Harris is considered among the top 5 cornerbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft class.  Current mock drafts have him falling between the mid-first round and early second.  Steve Gorten, of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, believes that even if Harris is projected to be a second round pick he will still enter the draft.  Another factor in the decision could be whether or not Tim Harris, Brandon's father, is retained on the new coaching staff.  Though Brandon claims that will not have an effect on whether or not he returns.

[VIDEO: Courtesy Manny Navarro, Miami Herald]

Posted on: December 14, 2010 5:28 pm

USC juniors to enter draft

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With no bowl giving them a reason to forestall disappointing the fanbase or informing their coaches, a pair of USC juniors have wasted no time in letting the world know where they stand in regards to the NFL draft:

It's never too big a shock when juniors declare early -- NFL paychecks are a little more flexible, spending-wise, than tuition waivers -- and it's even less so considering that the Trojans will still be barred from a bowl game in the 2010 juniors' hypothetical senior seasons. So no one will be too surprised to see players like Jurrell Casey and Tyron Smith depart.

But that doesn't mean it's not a big, big blow for Lane Kiffin's program. Smith has been a productive a two-year starter at right tackle, helping power the Trojans to a top-30 finish in rushing offense and an average of better than five yards per-carry in 2009. But it's Casey's decision that really stings, as he led SC in tackles-for-loss with 11, finished second in sacks, anchored the run defense, made first team All-Pac-10, and was generally agreed by many observers to Monte Kiffin's best defender -- including his teammates, who named him the team MVP .

Worst of all, with the NCAA restrictions on replacing SC's departed scholarship players and the Trojans' 2011 recruiting class limited to only 15 players this spring, finding replacements for Casey and Smith will be exponentially more difficult for Kiffin and Co. than for other top programs when their players leave early. It's simply bad news all the way around for the men of Troy.

Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:40 am
Edited on: December 14, 2010 10:14 am

Houston files paperwork for Keenum's sixth year

Posted by Chip Patterson

As expected, the University of Houston has filed an appeal with the NCAA requesting a sixth year of eligibility for quarterback Case Keenum.  Keenum, the school's all-time leading passer, had his senior year cut short in the third game when he went down with a knee injury against UCLA.  In 2009, Keenum wowed Cougars fans by throwing for 48 touchdowns and amassing over 5800 yards of total offense.  

After being named the Conference USA Player of the Year, hopes were high for Keenum and the Houston squad coming into 2010.  With another big season, Keenum could possibly become the NCAA all-time leader in total passing yards.  

But the injury has kept Keenum from accomplishing that in his fifth year, as well as hurt his stock in the NFL Draft.  So Houston is doing their part to try and grant him that redshirt senior season he did not get in 2010.  According to the NCAA rules, a player may only be granted a sixth year of eligibility if they can prove that the player has missed two seasons due to circumstances out of his control.  

What does not bode well for Keenum is that the NCAA normally does not consider a team-issued redshirt (Keenum's first season on campus) as one of those situations.  Keenum's best chance in the appeal is the timing of the knee injury, and hoping to get some sympathy from the appeals committee.

Posted on: December 11, 2010 2:41 pm

Possible lockout won't affect Green pro decision

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the will-they-go-or-won't-they talk surrounding college football's draft eligible juniors heats up, there's been a substantial amount of chatter that the potential NFL lockout might encourage players to stay in school rather than risk murky draft waters polluted by a work stoppage.

But if A.J. Green is any indication, that talk isn't going to be anything more than wishful thinking on the part of college football fans:
Green said Saturday that a possible NFL lockout will “not be a part of my decision,” of whether to enter the NFL draft.

Green would stun most observers if he doesn’t enter the draft because he’s projected as a top-five overall draft pick.

“I’m close,” Green said about his decision. “I’m going to talk to my parents a little more and we can see.”

Green said he was among several Georgia players that met with Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay last week on campus ... McKay has served on the NFL Management Council working group that helps advise on collective bargaining issues.

Green said that his thoughts on the NFL lockout were based in part on hearing McKay, who serves on several NFL committees.

“I’m not going to think about the lockout,” Green said.

Because of that top-five appraisal, Green's situation isn't the same as another potential early-entrant who might land closer to the second or third round or even the draft's second day; with talent like his, Green's going to be financially secure no matter when he declares.

But nonetheless, if what Green is hearing point-blank from NFL sources that the lockout isn't something to worry over, it's doubtful many other top prospects are going to hear differently when there's so much money at stake. Until an equally high-profile draftee says otherwise, don't expect the lockout to do much to slow the usual exodus.


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