It should be pointed out that Shelton's action does not make him eligible for the NFL Draft at this point. Essentially, this move allows Shelton to be reviewed by a select group of NFL advisors who will tell him where he could be expected to be selected if he decided to enter his name in the NFL Draft.
Shelton, who led the Cardinals in rushing this season with 862 yards on just 128 carries, was recently named to the second team All-Conference USA team. His 6.7 yard per carry average this season ranked among the nation's best and his 19 rushing touchdowns tied Leroy Collins single season mark.
A 6-3, 250-pound bruiser, Shelton is an intriguing NFL prospect because of his rare combination of size and speed. He's considered the No. 6 running back prospect by Scout.com should he elect to remain eligible for the draft.
However, according to both sources, Shelton may decide to return to Louisville for his final season if he's not projected as either a first or second selection in next spring NFL Draft.
And with a strong senior class of running back prospects eligible for the draft following this season, including Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown of Auburn, Cedric Benson of Texas, Marion Barber of Minnesota, Kay Jay Harris of West Virginia, it remains uncertain at this time whether or not Shelton would be selected in the first two rounds of the draft. Also, several talented underclassman, including Memphis's DeAngelo Williams and T.A. McClendon from N.C. State could make themselves eligible for the draft, further deepening the talent pool at the position.
Likely, Shelton will test the waters to find out exactly where he would be selected in next springs draft. And, according to our sources, would probably return to U of L next season if he doesn't receive assurances of being picked in the first two rounds of the draft.
Underclassmen have until January 15 to declare themselves eligible for the 2005 NFL Draft. A spokesman for the National Football League could not confirm that Shelton or any other underclassmen had returned draft eligibility paperwork, citing NFL rules and regulations prohibiting that information from being released until Jan. 15. However, U of L football sports information director Rocco Gasparo confirmed that Shelton has not declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft at this point.