Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has decided that he will jump to the NFL early instead of playing out his senior season in Knoxville according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports:
QB Tyler Bray is leaving Tennessee to put his name into April's NFL Draft, a source tells CBS.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 20, 2012
Bray has had an up-and-down career with the Volunteers, and CBS Sports is projecting him to be a third-round draft pick.
At 6’6” and 215 pounds with incredible arm strength, Bray is one of the most physically gifted passers in the country, but his production has not always matched his ability.
His talent caused a significant amount of excitement when he arrived in Knoxville. The buzz surrounding him amplified when he was given his first start midway through his freshman season and used the opportunity to pass for 325 yards and five touchdowns.
Hopes were high heading into Bray’s sophomore campaign, but his 2011 season was ultimately cut short. Bray broke his thumb just before the most difficult stretch of games on the Vols' schedule.
After his junior year, NFL scouts now have a complete season to judge, and the reviews will likely be mixed. Bray’s supporters will point to his 368-yard, four-touchdown performance against South Carolina, while his detractors will not look past a disappointing day against Vanderbilt during which he was briefly benched.
Bray finished the year with a 59.4 completion percentage, 3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. These are certainly impressive stats, and the talented signal-caller will have no trouble getting drafted in April.
But the amount of time he will spend waiting for a phone call is certainly up in the air. Labels of inconsistency and immaturity have followed Bray during his collegiate career, and these can be worrisome red flags.
Bray is a risky prospect with tremendous potential, and he will serve as the basis for contentious discussions between draft analysts for the next few months.