The deadline for underclassmen to enter the NFL draft is Saturday, which means the clock is ticking for Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston’s decision.
Of the Georgia juniors who said they would seriously consider the draft, Houston is the only one who hasn’t publicly declared his intentions.
Wide receiver A.J. Green announced he is forgoing his final season at UGA to enter the draft, in which he is widely expected to be a top-five pick. But cornerback Brandon Boykin and offensive linemen Cordy Glenn and Trinton Sturdivant decided to bypass the draft and return for their senior seasons.
Houston, who led the SEC in sacks this past season, is ranked as the draft’s No. 25 prospect by Scout.com.
It would be a surprise if Houston passes up the draft, although Georgia coach Mark Richt has made the point that Houston — like the other Georgia juniors aside from Green — could improve his draft stock (and thus his eventual NFL payday) by returning for his senior season.
Ten SEC underclassmen had declared for the draft through Thursday night, according to a list posted on the conference’s official website: Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama; Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama; Julio Jones, WR, Alabama; Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas; Cam Newton, QB, Auburn; Will Hill, DB, Florida; A.J. Green, WR, Georgia; Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU; and Tori Gurley, WR, South Carolina. UPDATE: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley added his name to the list today.