Houston and Anderson Leave For NFL

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas cornerback Chris Houston and defensive end Jamaal Anderson have made their decisions about the NFL.

Wide receiver Marcus Monk, meanwhile, wants some more time to consider his options.

Houston and Anderson said Sunday that they each have decided to skip their senior seasons to enter the NFL Draft, forcing Arkansas to go into next season without two of its top defensive starters.

"I always wanted to make it to the NFL," Houston said. "Just to be able to say I'm declaring (for the draft) is big because it's a lifetime dream, something I've been able to reach."

Houston said he spoke with his parents on Wednesday -- two days after Arkansas' 17-14 loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl -- about whether he should leave for the NFL or return for his senior season with the No. 12 Razorbacks.

And after hearing that he could be selected in either the first or second round of April's NFL Draft, Houston informed Arkansas' coaches late last week of his decision to turn pro.

Houston said he has already signed with agent Eugene Parker, who also represents former Arkansas cornerback Ahmad "Batman" Carroll. By signing with an agent, Houston has given up his collegiate eligibility.

"I've been thinking about (the NFL) for a while, and I just sat down with my parents a few days ago and decided," Houston said.

The departure of the 5-foot-11, 188-pound Houston leaves the Razorbacks (10-4) without their top cornerback, and the team must also find a replacement for Anderson, their sack leader from this past season.

In the locker room following the Capital One Bowl, Anderson said he planned to play for Arkansas next season. But he decided late Saturday night that the chance to be a high draft pick was too good for him to turn down.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt met with Anderson on Thursday in Little Rock to talk about whether the junior should stay for his senior season.

Two day earlier, though, Anderson said he received word from the NFL draft advisory board that he could be a second-round pick if he entered this year.

"As I saw that, I felt that I've got a real good chance of going high (in the draft), and I need to take advantage of this opportunity," Anderson said.

Anderson had a breakout season as a junior, leading the Southeastern Conference with 13.5 sacks -- including three in the Capital One Bowl loss.

The Little Rock native believes he could work his way into being a first-round selection with his combination of size (6-foot-6, 280 pounds) and speed (4.6 in the 40-yard dash).

Anderson said he called Nutt on Sunday morning and informed him of his decision to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

"While we would love to have (Anderson) join us for one more year, I understand when you have the capability to be a first-round draft pick that is difficult to turn down," Nutt said in a statement released through the school. "We wish him and his family all of the best."

Anderson said he plans to sign with agent Gary Wichard, who also represents Miami defensive end Jason Taylor and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney.

Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL Draft, and Monk said Sunday that he needs more time to consider whether to leave early like Anderson and Houston or return to Arkansas for his senior season.

Monk said several factors will play into his decision, such as what type of talent does Arkansas have coming back next season and could his draft status improve if he returned for his senior season.

"There is a chance I can come back and better what (the NFL draft advisory board) told me or it can stay the same," Monk said. "It's a decision I have to make. That's why I'm not going into it too fast."

Monk has good size (6-foot-6, 217 pounds), and he led the Razorbacks in receiving with 50 catches for 962 yards and 11 touchdowns. But he caught only one pass for 13 yards while being bothered by a stomach virus in the Capital One Bowl.

Nutt is supposed speak with Monk today about his options regarding the NFL.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories