Curious George

George Hypolite came to CU after playing fullback in high school. He moved to defensive tackle in his freshman season, and became a solid Big 12 player on the interior of CU's first line of defense. So solid that word has trickled down he has a chance to be taken in the NFL Draft next year if he decides to enter after his junior season. What's Hypolite thinking about that opportunity?

George Hypolite plans to explore his options in terms of the 2008 NFL Draft. The junior will submit his name to the pro league in order to get feedback on where those in the NFL think he would be drafted were the junior to leave school early. But it sounds as though it's out of curiosity, not a real move toward playing pro ball before he's played his senior year at Colorado.

"This has been a great university for me and I've been allowed to flourish here," Hypolite said Tuesday. "And I don't plan on leaving the University of Colorado until I'm ready to leave. Right now, I'm not ready to leave."

The gregarious defender led CU with six sacks in 2007, and was named first-team all-conference by both the Associated Press and Big 12 coaches. Earlier this fall, Mel Kiper Jr. ranked him the fourth-best defensive tackle prospect among juniors.

Head coach Dan Hawkins said he has no qualms about advising a player to leave early if he thinks he's ready. But he points out the numbers show players who leave school early to try and play in the NFL aren't always making the right decision.

"Even though a guy might have an opportunity to play, what is the realistic opportunity that he is going to make a living just doing that?," Hawkins said. "We just try to look at the long-range projection, as well.

"A great example is our staff. I think we have seven or eight guys that played professional football — and you still have to go get a job. So that education is really, really important."

The NFL will evaluate an underclassman's draft prospects if he submits himself to the process prior to a mid-January deadline. Hypolite said he will submit his name for evaluation. But it would have to come back top of the class for him to leave CU and enter the draft, he said.

"It would have to be, whoever has the No. 1 pick in the draft coming to me and saying, ‘We're planning on taking you No. 1 overall. We can start working on contract negotiations," he said. "I don't think that's going to happen."

So why is he exploring the option at all?

"It's just curiosity. Call me Curious George," he said.

Quarterback Bernard Jackson did not play his senior season because he was academically ineligible. There was brief talk about the possibility of Jackson — who redshirted his freshman season — asking the NCAA to grant him a sixth year. But on Tuesday, Hawkins said Jackson needs to focus on finishing his degree instead of thinking about football.

…Offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus is done with his studies and will graduate later this week. He plans to workout with a professional trainer in Denver and prepare for potential NFL workouts once the Buffs return from their bowl game.

…Hawkins said he thinks Hugh Charles has a shot to play in the NFL, particularly as a specialty player. The tailback has the speed to be a special teams player, and can catch well coming out of the backfield.

…Also expected to graduate Friday are Alonzo Barrett (sociology), Tyson DeVree (education), Lionel Harris (sociology), Edwin Harrison (communications/economics) and Terrence Wheatley (economics). Seniors Kevin Eberhart and Joe Sanders graduated prior to this semester.

…The coaching staff plans to have 100 percent of its bowl game plan installed by the time the team convenes in Shreveport Dec. 26. Ninety-nine players are expected to make the trip.

…Hawkins said Tuesday he hadn't been contacted by any schools asking to interview any of his assistants for jobs.

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