College football's two most recognizable stars, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney, have reportedly not requested NFL draft evaluations, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer on Twitter:
To give you a point of ref on college players submitting names to the draft board, by last weekend, 156 players from 48 schools had done so.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 19, 2013
We mentioned Manziel was missing from that list of 158 players who hadn't yet submitted their names. Another one missing: Jadeveon Clowney.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 19, 2013
NFL draft evaluations are not required for underclassmen looking to go pro, and both Manziel and Clowney are eligible to enter next May's 2014 NFL draft having spent at least three seasons in college.
The Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn reports that the number of total requests is closer to 200, but didn't say whether Manziel or Clowney were among the list of names:
As of Thursday, 201 underclassmen have submitted their names to be evaluated by the NFL draft advisory committee. It was about 180 in '12.— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) December 19, 2013
Given what's at stake for both players, the first question that comes to mind is: Why not?
Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, throwing for more than 3,700 yards, rushing for 1,400 more and scoring 47 total touchdowns en route to an 11-2 season.
Manziel was recently asked about going pro on The Dan Patrick Show and had the following response when asked what his plans would be if he knew he was not going to be a first-round choice, per NBC's College Football Talk's Kevin McGuire:
I don’t know what I would do. It would be a decision I would have to make with my family and see what was best for me. It would probably mean returning to A&M another year, but I would just see what’s in that position.
Manziel threw for over 3,700 yards again this past season as a sophomore, leading the Aggies to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Although he's yet to announce whether he'll return to College Station for his junior year or go pro, he is projected to be among the first few quarterbacks selected next spring if he enters his name for the NFL draft.
Meanwhile, it's been expected for some time now that Clowney would opt to forgo his senior season at South Carolina. The 6'6", 274-pound pass-rusher has been talked about as a potential No. 1 overall pick since his epic sophomore year in 2012, in which he recorded 23.5 tackles for a loss and 13 sacks.
If the two college stars opt to enter the 2014 NFL draft, they'll play their final college games this winter. Keep in mind that underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to enter their names into the 2014 NFL draft.
Manziel and the Aggies will wrap up the season against Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve in Atlanta, while Clowney and the Gamecocks are scheduled to take on Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on New Year's Day.
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