It wasn't long ago that Missouri running back Henry Josey's football career was very much in question, but Josey has overcome a great deal and will leave Mizzou on a high note after declaring for the 2014 NFL draft, according to Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Daily Tribune:
Missouri announces Henry Josey has declared for NFL draft.— Joe Walljasper (@JoeWalljasper) January 7, 2014
Josey's decision comes on the heels of a 92-yard, three-touchdown effort in the Tigers' 41-31 Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State. Josey ended the season with 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing, which is incredible considering the fact that he missed the entire 2012 campaign due to injury.
Is entering the 2014 NFL draft the right decision by Josey?
Josey was enjoying an incredible 2011 season that saw him top 1,000 yards and average over eight yards per carry, but it was cut short after he tore his ACL, MCL and patellar tendon in a November 2011 game against Texas.
Knee injuries usually don't get much more devastating than that, and Josey's status for 2013 was very much up in the air. He managed to return to form, however, and was a driving force behind a Missouri team that shockingly reached the SEC Championship Game.
Not surprisingly, Josey has gained plenty of fans over the past couple years. Missouri assistant director of strategic communications Patrick Crawford is one of them, as he heaped praise on the resilient running back.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel clearly feels quite strongly about Josey as well.Following the Tigers' Cotton Bowl triumph, Pinkel waxed poetic about Josey's will to get back on the field and excel, according to Martin Rickman of SI.com:
He's special. That’s what you see on the field. But the reason he's special, he's got great athleticism, he's tough, he's strong, all those other things. But his heart, you can't measure how big it is, his determination, his perseverance. Once he overcame that injury, I mean, you know, you grow from those things. He's now different now. Remarkably he's an even better player now.
Josey's determination is undeniable, but NFL teams may be wary of selecting him considering his injury history. Also, he has plenty of competition in what figures to be a deep running back class that already includes Bishop Sankey and Lache Seastrunk, and could include Ka'Deem Carey, Tre Mason, Carlos Hyde, Andre Williams and a host of others.
With that said, Josey can't be blamed for declaring. He could have suffered another major injury while at Missouri and cost himself a lot of money, so he made the right move from that perspective.
Running backs have bounced back from major collegiate injuries and had great NFL careers in the past, with Frank Gore and Willis McGahee immediately coming to mind. Josey already has a leg up since he's two years removed from his injury, so perhaps someone will be willing to take a chance on him.
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