Ken Hamlin Declares for Draft

Arkansas free safety declares for the draft after setting school record in tackles.

After learning that he would probably be drafted between the third and fourth round in the NFL draft, Ken Hamlin announced Tuesday that he would skip his final season of eligibility at Arkansas. Hamlin, 6-3, 218, set the school record in total tackles during his hard-hitting career with the Hogs.

Hamlin, free safety from Memphis, Tenn., was a three-year starter with the UA secondary after serving a redshirt season. Hamlin announced his decision in a media briefing held in the UA team film room.

"My dream is to play in the league," Hamlin said. "I love the people here and have many friends among the coaches and players, but it's time.

"It was a hard decision. I probably didn't finish my decision until 10 minutes ago. The major factor is my desire to play at the next level.

"It's very tough to leave my friends here, though. I have some friends that will be life-long friends, and it's tough to leave them. Coach Nutt and the rest of the coaches and my teammates have been good to me.

"I talked to Coach Nutt twice. He gave me some reasons and benefits to coming back. I talked to other assistants, too. And, we discussed getting my degree. I will come back to get my degree."

However, it's unlikely Hamlin will be in school at the UA this semester. He's enrolled, but he said it is likely that he will move to either Memphis or Houston to work with personal trainers to prepare for the NFL combines and workouts.

Houston Nutt was on the road to recruit, but a statement was released by the school's sports information department.

"I want to wish Ken Hamlin the best in his future on and off the football field," Nutt said. "I encouraged him to consider the many benfits of staying at the University of Arkansas for his senior season, but I respect his decision that he and his family have made regarding his final year of eligibility. I have strongly urged him to return to the University of Arkansas to finish his degree in the near future. He was on target to graduate next fall. I am grateful to Ken for his contributions to our program and wish him the best."

Hamlin said he sought and received an evaluation from the NFL scouting office that suggested he would be drafted in the fourth round. That came two weeks ago. He said after consulting with Nutt, the UA head coach then called other friends that coach in the NFL. Nutt then told Hamlin those coaches said he could be drafted as high as the second or third round. It was then that he began to contemplate more heavily about turning professional. Hamlin indicated he had not signed with an agent.

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