NFL in their immediate future?

The college football season is just a month old yet the underclassmen watch is well underway. Several top prospects from the ranks of the underclassmen have privately made their decision to forgo another year on the college field in favor of potential NFL riches. Here's what we know.

When Michael Bush publicly said he was in no hurry to make a decision on where his future lies it caught many be surprise.  Bush had been speaking with agents prior to his public proclamation and several well placed sources told us the big Louisville ball carrier had in fact already signed with a player-representative.  If that is true Bush will be in April's draft.

His Louisville teammate, receiver Mario Urruta, is heavily leaning towards entering the draft.  The big pass catcher is off to a hot start this season.  Urruta has outstanding size and forty times will be critical to his final draft ranking.

Another Big East junior seems to have definitively made up his mind and will be leaving for the draft.  Prior to the season Pittsburgh cornerback Darrell Revis had told people this would be his last season with the Panthers.  Revis has played well during the first half of the year and is destined for round one.

LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell had let it be known before the season started he would definitely consider entering the draft next April.  Russell is in the midst of an outstanding campaign which only deepens the thought he's NFL bound after the season.

One top tight end is likely on his way into the draft while a second is leaning that way.  

Word out of Tempe is Zach Miller will leave for the NFL after this season.  The talented pass catcher reminds many of former Sun Devil Todd Heap.  With a void of talent at the position from the senior class Miller is likely to be the first tight end selected, somewhere towards the end of round one.

Greg Olson of the Miami Hurricanes is on the fence about his future plans.  Sources familiar with the program say he's likely to leave, which is a mistake.  Olson has played in spurts this season and carries anywhere from a second-to-third round grade at the earliest.

A pair of players from Michigan are torn as what their next move will be.  

Offensive tackle Jake Long and defensive tackle Alan Branch have both been dominant this season.  Long, living up to the belief that he could be the best offensive tackle to ever come from Ann Arbor , has played exceptionally well since his injury riddled campaign of '05.  

On his  behalf Branch could be the best of a poor defensive tackle crop if he leaves for the NFL.  

It is unusual for Michigan to lose players early to the NFL and this situation bears watching.

If Allan does not enter the draft the number one tackle selected would likely be Frank Okam of Texas.  The big Longhorn run stuffer has seemingly decided his future after this season lies at the next level.

Another school which has a history of retaining players is Florida State.  Yet a pair of Seminole underclassmen might buck that trend next year.  

Defensive tackle Andre Fluellen gained notice last season after playing next to first round selection Brodrick Bunkley.  Like his former teammate Fluellen is undersized but explosive on the inside.  Sources have told us Fluellen was talking about entering the draft before the season began and is likely headed to the NFL.

Fluellen's defensive teammate Lawrence Timmons finally moved into the starting fulltime line-up this season after the departure of Ernie Sims.  The Seminole outside linebacker displays similar range and athleticism to the Detroit Lions first round choice, though he's not quite the same playmaker.  Word is Timmons is also seriously giving consideration to entering the draft.

Before he sustained a shoulder injury it was common knowledge that USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett was set to leave for the NFL.  And even though he may miss a few games with the ailment the prevailing thought is Jarrett will enter the draft.

So to will Lawrence Jackson, the Trojan defensive end.  While the pass rusher is off to a slow start Jackson did purchase an insurance policy to guard against injury prior to the season, a sure sign the NFL is his next stop.

Add Sam Baker as the third USC junior to leave for the big leagues.  Though not as commonly discussed as a foregone conclusion, the program does not expect Baker back next year.

California's Marshawn Lynch is another Pac Ten junior playing his final year of college ball. The explosive ball carrier holds a top twenty grade and will be the second running back chosen next April.  

The first running back selected will be Adrian Peterson, who has publicly hinted he will leave Norman after the season.  Peterson will battle for a top three spot in the draft along with Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech.

Prior to the start of the season it was common knowledge in Atlanta the talented wide out was headed for the NFL in '07.  And the way Johnson's played this season who can blame him?

Ohio State receiver Ted Ginn Jr. will enter the draft and is likely to be a top 12 selection.

Another Pac Ten player we hear is seriously considering making the jump is Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason.  The ball hawk coverman has played well this season, though some are concerned about his speed and will pay close attention to the stop watch if he enters the draft.

We've been told by several sources Zach Bowman, the talented cover-corner from Nebraska who has been sidelined all year with a knee injury, is seriously thinking of not returning to Lincoln next season and favoring a jump to the NFL.  This would be a risky move for Bowman, a junior college transfer, even though played very well for the Cornhuskers last season, starting five games. 

Many point to Antonio Cromartie who entered the draft last April after not playing during the 2005 season with a similar injury.  He ended up as the 19th pick in round one.  We disagree with that comparison as Cromartie was rated significantly higher than Bowman at every stage of the scouting process.


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