The deadline for players to declare for the NFL is next Monday, January 14, and as we head into the weekend, college players across the country will be mulling over their next step. Most of them have already made up their minds in the Big 12, but there are one or two who could still announce.
Below is a list of players who’ve declared for the NFL draft, those who might be considering it, and those who’ve officially announced that they’re returning for their senior season. This list will be updated once final declarations are made.
The primary player for the Bears who could declare early for the draft is junior wide receiver Denzel Mims. Mims did not have the kind of 2018 season he was probably hoping for however, as he fell short of a 1,000 yards receiving despite high expectations in the preseason. Were he to return, and there seems to be little reason to think he won’t, he would likely be the go-to receiver for quarterback Charlie Brewer in 2019.
Declared: RB David Montgomery, WR Hakeem Butler
Montgomery and Butler were really the only Cyclones expected to declare early for the Draft, and both made their decisions public not too long after their loss in the Alamo Bowl. There are several draft-eligible juniors and redshirt sophomores who in theory could leave Ames early, but none of them are thought to be serious candidates to leap to the pros.
The Jayhawks have a few draft-eligible junior who could hypothetically declare for this year’s NFL Draft, but none of them have been rumored to be exploring a possible early exit.
Declared: RB Alex Barnes
New Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman has reportedly discussed the possibility of Barnes coming back to school despite the running back’s public declaration in December that he’d forego his final year of eligibility. Kansas State has seen some transfers, but no other current underclassmen are thought to be early exit candidates.
Declared: RB Rodney Anderson, WR Marquise Brown, OL Cody Ford, OT Bobby Evans
The Sooners have by far made the most headlines with regards to the NFL Draft and players leaving early. Ford and Evans recently made their announcements, following right behind WR Marquise Brown, who really broke out for Oklahoma last season.
Running back Rodney Anderson was injured early in the 2018 season, and it’s been known since then that he’d be headed to the NFL. Anderson has a history of injuries in college, and most likely wanted to get to the professional ranks as soon as he could.
Quarterback Kyler Murray, who last year signed a contract to play baseball for the Oakland A’s, is expected to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray, who won the Heisman and had one of the best seasons of any Big 12 quarterback, has excelled more on the football field and than the baseball field in his sports career. He only lost two games as a starter for Oklahoma this year, and won multiple state championships in high school.
There are questions about his size and how that will factored into his draft stock, but until recently few thought he might go into the draft. He has until Monday to make his final decision.
Declared: RB Justice Hill, DE Jordan Brailford
Hill and Brailford were both probably the best players on their respective sides of the ball for the Pokes in 2018, and each decided to head for the NFL. There are no other draft-eligible players expected to announce for Oklahoma State.
No Horned Frog underclassmen have as of yet declared for the NFL Draft, and the only real candidate who coulc possibly have done so, junior right tackle Lucas Niang, is reportedly staying in school. According to reports, Niang did not get a favorable draft grade and thus decided to come back for his senior season.
Declared: WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey
Several Texas players submitted their names to test the waters of the NFL Draft, but only Humphrey decided to not return to school. He was the team’s leading receiver in 2018 and had one of the best seasons of a Texas wide receiver ever. The two other players who decided to stay – safety Brandon Jones and wide receiver Collin Johnson – were thought to be the only players who were considering making the leap to the pros.
Declared: WR Antoine Wesley
Wesley took advantage of his opportunity this season to be a standout wide receiver for the Red Raiders, and feels he’s ready to jump to the pros. Wesley is likely the only Red Raider underclassman who will be leaving early.
Declared: LB David Long Jr.
Long has been one of the best linebackers in the Big 12 for some time now, and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. Given his high level of production for the Mountaineers, his early exit is not entirely a surprise. West Virginia is losing plenty of talent to graduation, but Long is probably the only player who will forego his senior season.