Gabe Marks is 50-50 on whether to return to Washington State or enter the NFL draft, a reliable source with knowledge of the situation tells Cougfan.com.
Marks’ ankle injury, the source also said, is not as severe as was reported earlier by draftinsider.net. Indeed, Washington State’s starting Z receiver may play in the Sun Bowl, now just 15 days away.
Marks, a fourth-year junior, is doing “quite well” in rehab, the source said, and it’s going to be “very close” on whether he’s healed up in time to take part in the Dec. 26 bowl game (11 a.m., CBS).
Should he return to WSU next season, Marks looks to have a very good shot at becoming the most prolific pass-catcher in the history of the Pac-12.
Marks has 222 career receptions (WSU all-time record) headed into the bowl game. The all-time Pac-12 mark is held by Nelson Spruce with 294.
Marks this year leads the conference in receptions (99) and touchdown receptions (14). He is second in receiving yards per game (93.8) and was recently named first-team all-Pac-12.
A little over a month ago, CF.C asked NFL draft guru Rob Rang to assess Marks’ NFL prospects.
“He’s definitely a draftable player, said Rang. “I don’t know that he is a first three rounds kind of a guy.”
There are pros to coming out early. There are also cons, including this particular drawback: the missing of key senior collegiate postseason games.
“Because most all-star games are not open to underclassmen unless they’ve graduated, Gabe Marks or any underclassmen would be passing on that opportunity, and that can be important (especially) with it looking like another strong receiver class this draft,” said Rang.
The deadline to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft is not until after the bowl season, on Jan. 18. It is assumed WSU has or will request on behalf of Marks a draft evaluation from the NFL's College Advisory Committee.
According to the official NFL guide, the CAC bases their evaluation only on film study and does not take into account injuries. They offer the underclassmen one of three possible evaluations, shared only with the player and his college head coach:
1. First-round pick
2. Second-round pick
3. Stay in school