So with the bowl game done, we’re at that annual point on Georgia’s football calendar where a few underclassmen deliberate entering the NFL draft.
A year ago, of course, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and Asher Allen jumped at the opportunity.
This time, at least two players – linebacker Rennie Curran and safety Reshad Jones — are tempted to do likewise.
If you want a guess, mine would be that both players will go. But both insist they haven’t made a decision, and their public comments remain noncommittal.
“The closer I get to it, the harder [the decision] gets,” Curran said. “I love my teammates, love being here, love Coach [Mark] Richt. . . . I wish I didn’t have to deal with it.”
They have to deal with it pretty soon.
The NFL’s deadline for eligible underclassmen to enter the draft is Jan. 15, but a couple of other dates might be more significant in the process for Curran and Jones, both juniors:
– Jan. 7: That’s the first day of spring-semester classes at Georgia. If a player turns pro, he’ll spend the semester training for the draft rather than in school. So whether to return to class and the “full swing” of school on the 7th will weigh on his timetable, Curran said.
– And whatever date Georgia hires a new defensive coordinator: Richt has said he expects that to be around the first week of January. Both Curran and Jones say their plan is to talk with the new DC before making or finalizing their decisions. Both players’ position coaches were fired early this month – John Jancek in Curran’s case and Willie Martinez in Jones’.
Jones came close to entering the 2009 draft as a third-year sophomore, changing his mind several times before opting at the deadline to remain in school. At the time, he strongly hinted that he’d enter the 2010 draft.
“I still haven’t made that decision yet,” Jones said after Monday night’s Independence Bowl. “I’ll go home and talk to my coaches and talk to my family.” He said he might have a decision “probably in a week or so.”
Neither Curran nor Jones would figure to be drafted in the first round. Both say they have not yet received the requested NFL projection of their draft potential, but both also say that projection won’t necessarily drive their decision anyway.
“I’m just trying to make the best possible decision,” Curran said. “The good thing is, no one has been putting pressure on me at all –- except for the fans. I love them to death. I’d like to be able to give them some concrete answers, but I just can’t.”
Your thoughts on whether they go or stay and, if they go, what round they would be drafted in?