Updates are coming back slowly on what type of grades underclassman prospects are seeking in order to make the official jump into the 2007 NFL draft.
Here is what those players, or people close to their situation, are saying about turning pro:
- Miami junior linebacker Jon Beason will consider leaving if he receives a first- or second-round grade.
- USC junior wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett wants to receive a first-round grade in order to leave early, and the same can be said for several others), such as Georgia junior defensive end Charles Johnson, Tennessee junior wide receiver Robert Meachem and Penn State junior linebacker Dan Connor, who seems to be having the hardest time thinking about leaving school early.
- Clemson junior cornerback C.J. Gaddis and Georgia junior cornerback Paul Oliver would be tempted if they received second-round grades.
- Hawaii junior quarterback Colt Brennan now seems likely to take the next step to the NFL if he receives a first-round grade. Several people close to his situation have told him it will be hard to improve his grade next season. Also, the chances of Hawaii being 10-3 next season or him winning the Heisman Trophy are not very high.
- Arizona running back Chris Henry has decided to pass up the chance of playing in Sonny Dykes' new offensive scheme and prepare for his pro day. The junior has stated that he's afraid the Texas Tech style of attack might not fit his game and that he could suffer through a less-than-spectacular senior campaign. The school's athletic department confirmed it is looking into allegations that inappropriate conversations may have taken place with a website serving as a "runner" between Henry and prospective agents.
- UNLV junior cornerback Eric Wright has signed with an agent and officially is in next year's draft. So are former Minnesota running back Gary Russell and Fresno State senior running back Dwayne Wright, who has opted to pass on a potential fifth year of eligibility to join the pro ranks.
- Texas senior cornerback Aaron Ross has not been charged with any crime in relation to a minor car accident that occurred in a northern suburb of Austin. The Thorpe Award winner expects to be fully recovered and ready to play against Iowa in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30. Ross was not injured, but he was found disoriented by local police, who said he was not aware initially of his location and what exactly had happened.
- Clemson coach Tommy Bowden suspended cornerback Duane Coleman for the Dec. 29 Music City Bowl after the senior was arrested on a marijuana possession charge last week. Coleman, a converted running back who is considered a potential late-round draft choice, is fourth on the team with 81 tackles.
- Roughly 50 NFL scouts, as well as members of several CFL teams, watched from the stands at Millsaps College last week as Division I-A, Division I-AA, Division II and Division III prospects prepared for the second annual Magnolia Gridiron Classic.
Some of the players that stood out between the combine, weigh-in and initial practices were North Carolina defensive tackle Shelton Bynum (who has the natural size that scouts like), Connecticut fullback Deon Anderson (a pure, old-fashioned blocker who knocked heads several times in seven-on-seven drills and also caught the ball well), Nicholls State offensive tackle Jacob Bender (who has the footwork to slide with most pass rushers at his level but must develop more of a powerful punch off the ball), Southeast Missouri State defensive end Edgar Jones (one of the best I-AA pass rushers but needs better 40 times and quickness to make it) and Chattanooga running back Eldra Buckley (who could be tried as an all-purpose back).
A few others flashed potential at times. That list included Alabama A&M linebacker Johnny Baldwin, Texas College tight end Justin Carter, Delaware cornerback Roger Brown, Eastern Kentucky H-back/wide receiver Patrick Bugg, McNeese State offensive lineman Brent Pousson and Millsaps wide receiver/return man Chris Jackson.
POSTSEASON ALL-STAR GAME UPDATE
East-West Shrine Game – The rosters for the Jan. 20 game at Houston's Reliant Stadium were announced. Players of note on the East squad include Miami defensive lineman Baraka Atkins, quarterback Chris Leak and wide receiver Dallas Baker of Florida, Iowa quarterback Drew Tate, Central Michigan defensive end Daniel Bazuin, Ohio State safety Brandon Mitchell and small-school standouts Ben Patrick (tight end, Delaware), David Ball (wide receiver, New Hampshire), Michael Coe (defensive back, Alabama State), Steve Baylark (running back, Massachusetts) and Daren Stone (defensive back, Maine). The West squad has its own share of talent led by Washington State defensive end Mkristo Bruce, Texas Tech wide receivers Joel Filani and Jarrett Hicks, Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe, BYU quarterback John Beck, Arizona safety Michael Johnson, Wyoming safety John Wendling, USC linebacker Dallas Sartz, Texas A&M safety Melvin Bullitt and Texas defensive end Brian Robison.