Dansby's NFL evaluation told the junior that he projected as high as a second round pick. However, both Dansby and Tuberville said that there is a good chance that the linebacker can be a first round pick in 2004 if he adds some weight and continues to improve like he has since he arrived at Auburn.
"There is a lot more money out there the higher you go," Tuberville said. "For you to be drafted in the NFL is one thing, but to be drafted high is another. Three to five years is the average length of an NFL player. My talk to the players is whenever you come out, you want to get the highest money you can up front because you are one play away from not playing."
Karlos Dansby (left) and Dontarrious Thomas are shown during Tuesday's announcement that they are returning to the 2003 Auburn football team.
Dansby is a 6-5, 221-pounder who was impressive in his first season at linebacker after new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik moved him from safety. Tuberville said that he would like to see Dansby get to 230-plus pounds by opening day vs. Southern California on August. 30th.
"I think I had a great shot to probably creep into the first round if I had really worked hard at it," Dansby says of the NFL draft. "I decided to stay. Being on the front line with my teammates, there is nothing like that, going to war with them--having their back every day, in and out of practice and every game. I just going to stay and try to get better."
Dansby announced he would return on Tuesday at a joint press conference with fellow junior linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, who is also returning for the 2003 season. "After praying about my situation I am going to return to Auburn," Dansby said. He added, "Staying here is going to be great being around this program, the coaching staff and great players such as Jason (Jason Campbell), Dontarrious, Demarco McNeil, Junior Rosegreen, Ronnie Brown. I could go on and on about the talent, and the great fans played a role in my decision.
"Right now, I want to try to accomplish some team goals and some individual goals at this point going into the next season and help lead Auburn to a great 2003 season."
Dansby said he and Thomas made their decisions independently. He noted that they discussed it a bit, but "we never did get into detail with it." Dansby added, "I am just glad to be playing next to him. We are going to have a great opportunity to make some big things happen here at Auburn and I am looking forward to it."
Having the physical, talented, smart and experienced No. 11 back on the turf at Jordan-Hare Stadium is very good news for the Auburn Tigers and bad news for Auburn's 2003 opponents.