LSU, Clemson underclassmen have just three days to decide on NFL draft

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LSU beat Clemson in a College Football Playoff Championship Game that showcased several players who are good enough to play in the NFL right now, but still have some NCAA eligibility remaining. Those players don’t have much time to decide whether they’re turning pro or returning to college.

Unfortunately, those players don’t have much time to talk it over with their families, coaches and anyone else whose brain they’d like to pick about the pros and cons of turning pro. The deadline to declare for the draft is Friday.

Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins, one of the players who has a decision to make, was asked immediately after the game whether he’s turning pro, and although he started to say the “right” things about how much he wants to graduate, he acknowledged that it’s too soon for him to decide.

“I’m even on it. I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” Higgins said, via The State.

Many in the college and pro football world think the NFL should have a later deadline, so young players can have more time to decide. Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema, who is the former head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas, said in 2017 that he had spoken with other coaches who wanted to see their players get more time.

“I know Nick [Saban] and several other coaches in our league have proposed moving that date back a little bit to allow our guys to have a better understanding,” Bielema said. “There are times now where we have a bowl game in January, and a kid feels pressure or is hearing from outside sources that he needs to make a decision sooner than later. Then he makes a decision before the bowl game even takes place. That tells me that A.) he’s not focused on his priorities, and B.) he’s getting information from people who really shouldn’t be gathering and giving information, and it leads to an uninformed decision.”

That would be a good move by the NFL. The draft is still more than three months away and there’s no reason to rush players into deciding whether to enter it now. It would also be good for the NCAA to allow players to change their minds and get their eligibility back if they declare for the draft and then realize at some point before the draft that they’d rather stay in school. Asking 20-year-olds who have just poured all their energy into a national championship game to make life-changing decisions just days after seems unwise.

21 responses to “LSU, Clemson underclassmen have just three days to decide on NFL draft

  1. Agree with this. Let players take the time, esp since those that don’t get drafted can’t go back to play college ball…which is actually something I’d be interested in them allowing

  2. If it makes perfect sense and is simple, I’d put all my chips in the corner saying the NFL won’t change anything. Especially if it’s not the NFL coming up with the idea.

  3. Boo hoo. They’re adults now – time to make adult decisions. Everyone needs to move on too, you know. Not just the college player thinking about going pro.

    – college coaches also have to turn around and start recruiting the replacements if the kid leaves. Wait too long and the top high schoolers will be gone.

    – NFL scouts have to watch hundreds of hours of gametape of hundreds of players. They’re not not sports journalists that watch 1-2 games and think they know everything about a player.

  4. The collegiate system is ridiculous. The schools and sponsors make millions off these bowl games while the kids (you know, the people we actually watch play) are given short time tables to decide their futures. What 21 year old is prepared to make that choice without having a reasonable time to think it over accordingly? Make it february 1st. Plenty of time until the draft.

  5. Or the NCAA can move those games into December…. Or better yet, shrink the number of college football games. 15 amateur games is crazy! I remember when it was 11 and if you were good enough you played a 12 game (a bowl game that meant something).

  6. A lot of colleges 2nd semester start this Monday. So the rule ‘might’ be a reflection of their schedule. Unless they are are on a 4-1-4, which starts a few days after New Years.

    A kid should be able to declare and then rescind before the draft, if he does not hire an agent. Many people regret being forced into any decision that doesn’t allow time to let the decision sink in.

  7. There’s no reason why the NFL can’t step in here and allow LSU and Clemson players an extra week. That solves the current problem and allows them to put some more consideration into moving out the deadline next year for everyone.

  8. Now C’mon man please, let’s not act like the topic of going pro just started after the championship game, I’m willing to bet as soon as these guys are draft eligible they’ve contemplated going pro, not only that, pretty certain there have been people in their ears constantly telling them they need to enter the draft and where they would probably be drafted. It’s probably safe to say a good number of these guys have been waiting for the day they could declare for the draft.

  9. ♫ “Should I stay or should I go now?
    Should I stay or should I go now?
    If I go, there will be trouble
    And if I stay it will be double
    So come on and let me know…” ♫

  10. What is unwise is risking your body for free for any longer than you have to before you get paid well to do it.

  11. Yea I’m sure none of these players knew anything about their draft stock before this morning. Newsflash, every one of the players that played last night who declare for the draft in the 3 days, made that decision months ago.

  12. 99% of them are not going to play professional sports in any capacity. Just the elite of the elite will get an opportunity. You could be a college All American and not be good enough to make it in the big show. Just a select few will be granted the opportunity to pass or fail at the highest level.

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