It wasn't long after the final seconds ticked off the LP Field scoreboard on Friday night that the questions surrounding the futures of impact players on both teams began to be asked.
First off, was Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. The same Fletcher Cox that completely obliterated a Wake Forest offensive lineman to block a Wake Forest field goal attempt early in the game.
Coming into the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Cox had 49 tackles and four sacks. Twelve-and-a-half of his tackles went for a loss and those four sacks were good enough for second-most in the SEC.
With his reputation as a disrupting force on Mississippi State's defensive line and his 6'4", 295-pound frame, Cox is an ideal candidate to become a first-round draft pick in April's NFL draft.
When asked about his future status following the game, Cox said, "I have a good idea of what I'm going to do." The truth is, Cox is probably headed to the NFL.
Head coach Dan Mullen admitted in the post-game press conference that he would tell a player to "take the money and go" if they're projected by the NFL as a first-round pick.
Cox is widely considered a low first-round to high second-round choice. But ESPN scouting guru Todd McShay recently pegged the junior at No. 20 overall in his first mock draft.
Another player from Friday night's bowl game, Wake Forest's Chris Givens has apparently already made his plans known. Givens told reporters following the game that he's forgoing his final year of eligibility and declaring for the NFL draft.
Givens didn't have a great Music City Bowl (nine catches, 54 yards), but his 1,276 yards on 74 receptions in the regular season made the junior one of the top wide receivers in the ACC.
NFLDraftScout.com has Givens ranked as the potential No. 11 wide receiver in the upcoming NFL draft, and the site indicates that Givens' stock is still rising.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2012 NFL draft is January 15.
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