Impact of Decisions Made by Montee Ball, Jerel Worthy, Landry Jones and Others
There are several stars in college football who have already made decisions on their future for 2012, and many had to do so quickly.
The deadline to declare for the NFL Draft is January 15th, and there were a few decisions that pumped up college football fans for the start of 2012. Here are your latest updates on who is leaving for the NFL and who is coming back, and the impact this will have on their individual teams.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Montee Ball has decided to come back for his senior season, which comes as a big surprise because most expected the Heisman invitee to leave for the NFL.
He tied Barry Sanders' record for the most touchdowns in a season (39), and he did it with electrifying slashes, dashes, and spins.
The superstar north-south runner will have another crack at putting up a huge year, though he will to have do it without Russell Wilson.
Ball obviously feels that he has a point to prove, but the third-round grade that he received obviously played a vital role.
Jon Budmayr will likely be the favorite to start next season at quarterback, and three offensive linemen will be returning. Throw in exceptional backup James White, tight end Jacob Pedersen, and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, and this offense should be a force to be reckoned with once again.
Without Ball, the Badgers were barely a Top 20 team in most rankings for 2012, but now they seem to be a lock to have another double-digit season, counting bowl games. They are also a division favorite to reach the Big 10 Championship.
Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
Jerel Worthy (6’3", 310 pounds) is a beast up front, and Mel Kiper projects that he will be the No. 20 pick in April’s draft. Kiper also has the former Spartan as the fourth-rated defensive tackle.
The Spartans are loaded with defensive stars, so it is the offense that will need to load some new players in for the 2012 season to be an even more successful one than 2011 was.
Landry Jones and Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
Landry Jones has decided to come back for his final season in Norman, with his struggles late in the season perhaps playing a large role in his decision.
Losing Ryan Broyles will be tough next season, but Kenny Stills (and his hair, haha) and Jaz Reynols will be back at wide receiver.
Expect the Sooners offense to only get better in what should be a completely different looking Big 12 after losing A&M and Missouri and adding TCU and perhaps West Virginia.
Another Big 12 title is reachable, and they should have more luck in terms of becoming national title contenders.
Ronnell Lewis, on the other hand, has decided to enter the NFL Draft, which doesn't come as any surprise since most expected him to leave after this past season (at least I did).
The Sooners have lots of depth, but they must avoid the injury bug and have somebody else really step up, since Frank Alexander, the other pass-rusher, is a senior and graduates this year.
Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech
Jayron Hosley has decided to enter the NFL Draft, which can be debated as to whether or not it's the right move.
Hosley is expected to be a third-rounder by most mocks, though you never know with certain franchises and their needs.
The Hokies will not have nearly as talented a secondary without the star, but they were expected to lose Hosley and/or star running back David Wilson, who will announce his decision at 11 am ET on Friday.
Virginia Tech could have been just outside the Top Five had everybody decided to come back, but even if Wilson opts for the NFL, the Hokies will still be in the Top 20.
Brandon Jenkins, Florida State
Brandon Jenkins has decided to come back for his senior season, which means the 'Noles can officially begin to dream big again.
The defense next season at Doak can become one of the best, if not the best, in America. Jenkins has been sensational as a pass-rusher for the past two seasons, with a combined 21.5 sacks.
Plus, FSU does not have to play Oklahoma and instead hosts West Virginia, though the Hokies looked quite impressive hanging 70 points on Clemson.
Overall, the defense will lead the way, and the hype will be back at Florida State. They Seminoles finally have everybody back for their junior and senior seasons, which could lead to the return of glitz, glamour and swagger (a Top 10 finish) to Tally.