Vince Young Mulling NFL Decision

CARSON, Calif. -- Texas coach Mack Brown didn't exactly go out on a limb when making this Rose Bowl prediction: "If we win, by Wednesday night or Thursday morning, we'll start talking about if Vince (Young) is coming back and can we repeat." Less than 48 hours from the most important game of his career, is the Longhorn QB backing off from returning for his senior season?

Young has quietly affirmed at several times during the 2005 campaign that it was always his intent to return for a fifth season. To be fair, Brown has repeatedly stated the decision will not only be made following the bowl trip but that he doesn't want players discussing it with media.

"I'm still thinking about it," Young told Inside Texas on Monday.

Young's additional comments, following Texas' final practice before the BCS National Championship, suggest that he has not completely retreated from previous assertions that he would return for his senior season. When asked, for example, if the for-all-the-marbles Rose Bowl matchup against USC represented a 'dream game' for him as a collegian, Young said, "I don't know if I can say this is a dream game because I still have more games to go. But I'm very excited and happy to be in the national championship."

Since arriving at Texas in December, 1997, Brown has never lost an underclassman to the NFL. It is a track record that is unprecedented during that span in big-time college football, although Brown insists that coaches would support a junior were he to declare early for the Draft. So, what's the appeal of dorm food and walking to class, especially when so many of Young's contemporaries bolt for the megabucks?

"You just have so much fun at Texas and learning how to become a man," Young said. "That's the biggest key. Football is going to be there. We're going to work hard and play hard to get to the point where we are. Coach Brown is a great coach."

Totaling a school-best 29-2 record (a 93.5 winning percentage, No. 6 all-time NCAA), VY has a chance to become the winningest QB in college football history with 10 more victories. How big of an incentive would that be for Young to return for a fifth season in Austin?

"That would be a big accomplishment," he said. "I'd be real excited and happy to get that."

It's fair to say that a) VY wants to focus entirely on the Rose Bowl Game; and b) he is still in a fact-finding mode to help shape his decision. He has until January 15 to declare himself eligible for the NFL, but sought counsel three weeks ago from USC QB Matt Leinart during Heisman Trophy ceremonies in New York.

"He was in the same position that I'm in right now," Young said, "and I just wanted to hear it from him about why he came back. He said he still wanted to be with his teammates and that he still wanted to be here for his senior season. It put it in my head that there are still more thoughts that I need to think about when I make my decision."

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said that Young's return makes Texas the favorite to play Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl in next season's national championship, and that the Horns won't see Arizona without him. (Then again, this is the guy that picked Texas A&M to win the Big 12 Conference.)

"We'll still have great guys on the team, Jamaal Charles and all them guys," VY said.

Horns Digest Top Stories