Stay or Go?

As the number of regular-season games wind down, as the temperature continues to drop, Ole Miss junior wide receiver Donte Moncrief inches closer and closer to the decision.

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He's saying all the right things. He maintains he's focused only on helping his team win and finishing strong, that thoughts of his sure-fire NFL future aren't creeping into his every-day thought pattern.

Still, time doesn't stop for anyone. Moncrief, who is draft eligible for the season, will soon have to choose whether to forgo his senior season and enter the draft or stick around for another year at Ole Miss.

"I'm just going to let it play out and see what happens in the end," he said.

The early-entry prospects of the 6-foot-3, 226-pound Moncrief really began to take shape last season. He had 66 catches for 976 yards and a school-record-tying 10 touchdowns, including outputs of 161 yards (against LSU) and 173 yards (against Mississippi State) in the final two games of the regular season.

As a junior, he's tallied 41 catches. His 647 yards lead the team, and he's hauled in five touchdowns.

Donte Moncrief
USA TODAY images

He had a somewhat slow start to the year, but he's rebounded in a big way, with his latest effort a 149-yard performance in a win over Arkansas on Saturday.

It was the third time in five games he's had at least 100 yards receiving.

"I've never been in this situation, so it'll be something new to me," Moncrief said of the draft process. "After the season, I'll sit down and talk to my parents and the coaches and see what's best."

His quarterback, junior Bo Wallace, would like to see him come back. Wallace is fourth in the SEC with 2,392 yards. Moncrief is a big reason why. Five of Wallace's 14 touchdowns have gone to Moncrief, tops on the team.

"He's going to go make a lot of money one day," Wallace said. "I think next year could be really special, and I want him to be a part of it."

Moncrief, of Raleigh, Miss., said he'll lean on the advice of his family and Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze when deciding. He currently ranks sixth in the conference in receiving (71.9 yards per game), eighth in receptions (4.6/game) and is tied for seventh in receiving touchdowns.

"It's just whatever Freeze thinks is best, if I should come back or leave," Moncrief said. "Whatever he says, I'm going to go with it."

Ole Miss (6-3, 3-3 SEC) next hosts Troy (5-5, 3-3 Sun Belt) Saturday at 11 a.m.

"We just take every team as a big game," Moncrief said of the approach this week to the Trojans. "You never know what can happen in college football."

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