Less than two weeks after suddenly leaving the University of Oregon, tight end Colt Lyerla has reportedly signed with a sports agency in anticipation for his entrance in the 2014 NFL draft.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the news:
Breaking: Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla has signed with XL Sports agency and will enter the 2014 NFL Draft.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 18, 2013
Lyerla will be working out with Tom Shaw as he prepares for the draft. He carried a first round grade prior to leaving UO.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 18, 2013
When asked by Miller what he would say about leaving Oregon, Lyerla said:
I love the program and will always represent it but that it was time to move on. That extra time to concentrate on myself and get ready for the combine is a positive. That I'm striving to be the first tight end off the board no matter how much my character is questioned. That I'm going to show the world what I can really do. I'm going to show the world that there is no longer need for doubt in [any] aspect of my game on or off the field.
In addition to Miller's first-round grade, CBS Sports ranked him as a potential second- or third-round pick.
It's not difficult to see why he garnered such high praise.
At 6'5" and 250 pounds, Lyerla, a former 4-star recruit, has impressive athleticism and explosiveness for a player of his size. During his first two seasons at Oregon, he pulled in 32 receptions for 539 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also received 13 carries as a sophomore, exhibiting some impressive versatility.
Lyerla is an exciting playmaker, and with the new age of big, athletic, versatile tight ends among us, his appeal was very clear.
However, recent events have made his draft status somewhat more murky.
Where do you think Lyerla will be drafted in 2014?
Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reported that several sources believe the young tight end won't be drafted.
It's understandable that the mysteriousness surrounding his departure from Oregon would make some NFL teams weary, but that just means that his interviews during the pre-draft process will be extremely integral.
Lyerla is still a very talented player, and it would be surprising if some team doesn't at least take a late-round flier on him.
Either way, this is one of the more intriguing stories of the season, and one to keep your eye on.