Jake Locker Syndrome: 25 Football Players Who Stayed in School Too Long

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2010

Jake Locker Syndrome: 25 Football Players Who Stayed in School Too Long

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    Jake Locker was a Heisman Trophy candidate coming into this year. Buffalo Bills fans were expecting to take him with the first overall pick in this spring's NFL draft.

    Locker has had an awful year for Washington. The Huskies are 3-5 and it killed any chance of a Heisman Trophy and he hasn't had anywhere near the year people thought he was going to have. They aren't terrible numbers, but they aren't top-pick numbers either.

    With that in mind, here are 25 players who stayed a year too long in the college game when they should have headed right to the pros.

    Any thoughts? Leave them in the comments.

No. 25: James Laurinaitis

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    James Laurinaitis was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in his junior year but came back for one more with Ohio State.

    Laurinaitis had the best year of his career, but just didn't pick up in the draft. If I were him, I would have struck while the iron was hot and left after my junior year. You can't always blame a kid for wanting one more year in college.

    I still think he would have gone a little higher than the early second round after his junior year.

No. 24: James Rodgers

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    After a year in which he had over a 1,000 yards receiving out of the backfield to go with nine touchdowns through the air, Rodgers returned for his senior year.

    He was teaming up with his brother in the Oregon State backfield except Rodgers suffered a season-ending knee injury. You have to wonder how that's going to impact his draft stock now that he's not putting up stats.

    You have to feel bad for the guy.

No. 23: Brian Robiskie

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    A year after heading to the national championship game with Ohio State, Brian Robiskie returned for his senior season.

    His numbers dropped as he dealt with Terrelle Pryor and his unpolished skills and he ended up going in the second round of the draft to Cleveland. Robiskie wouldn't have been a high draft pick, but his stock did take a bit of a hit.

    Plus, maybe he wouldn't be playing for Cleveland.

No. 22: Paul Posluszny

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    Paul Posluszny had a big-time junior year at Penn State as a linebacker but then was injured in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.

    Posluzsny rehabbed the knee and returned for his senior season and played well but if Willis McGahee can get drafted on one knee, so could have Posluzsny. He's been a solid player for the Bills but has struggled with injury issues.

    It's starting to become a trend for the linebacker.

No. 21: Brandon Spikes

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    Brandon Spikes was part of a national championship team and was a big part of Florida's success that year.

    Spikes returned and saw his production drop and was suspended a game for an incident in which he gouged someone's eyes during a play. He ended up being picked late in the second round by the New England Patriots.

    So much for going out on top.

No. 20: Charles Scott

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    In his junior year, Charles Scott led the SEC in rushing touchdowns and decided to come back for his senior year.

    He ended up fracturing his clavicle and missing the rest of the season in a game against Alabama. Scott was drafted in the sixth round and has bounced around the league. He now is on the New York Giants.

    Injuries are killers to draft stock.

No. 19: Pat White

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    Pat White was part of the West Virginia team that stomped Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and put together one of the best performances we've seen in a bowl game in a long time.

    White passed for 176 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 150 yards but decided to stay with the Mountaineers for his senior season.

    White didn't have the same success that he did the year before and ended up being drafted in the middle of the second round.

    With a new coach coming in, he should have seen a down year coming.

No. 18: Adrian Clayborn

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    After recording 11 sacks last year for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Adrian Clayborn decided he could use another year in college and stayed for his senior year.

    Clayborn only has three sacks this year and is nowhere close to his level of production from last year.

    I think once the draft comes and goes, we'll see how big of a mistake this will have been to stay the extra year.

    Sure, it's been a good year for the team, but not for Clayborn.

No. 17: Greg Romeus

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    After racking up 15 sacks the past two seasons, Greg Romeus decided it was best to stay with Pitt this year.

    He's dealt with injuries and has barely been on the field and has had no impact for the Panthers this year.

    It's a disaster of a year for Romeus, and I'm not sure where he goes from here. He's going to need a good combine to impress scouts.

    It's a shame to see him go through that.

No. 16: Sergio Kindle

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    Sergio Kindle stayed at Texas for his senior season and saw his position move to defensive end and his production dropped.

    Kindle ended up drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, but a skull fracture suffered in a fall has kept Kindle out of football this year.

    It's a shame and the Ravens could use a player like him to fill out depth. It's just bad luck and awful timing.

    Kindle would have been better off leaving after his junior year.

No. 15: Ty Detmer

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    Ty Detmer put together one of the best college football seasons of all time in his junior year with BYU, winning the Heisman Trophy.

    Detmer stayed at BYU and finished third in the Heisman voting that year, not coming close to what he had done the year before and lost the first three games of the season.

    Detmer ended up being drafted in the ninth round.

    That's rough for a Heisman winner.

No. 14: Kenny Irons

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    Kenny Irons almost rushed for 1,300 yards in his junior year at Auburn University and had an amazing year, but decided to come back for his senior year.

    Irons suffered a finger injury and struggled despite having Heisman hype around him heading into the year.

    The running back ended up being picked in the middle of the second round by Cincinnati where he never really panned out.

    Irons isn't even in the league right now.

No. 13: Bobby Carpenter

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    In his junior year, Bobby Carpenter was second in the team in tackles with 96. He decided it was best to come back for another year.

    However, he got injured and finished fifth on the team in tackles and saw his production drop way down from the year before.

    Despite that, he was still picked 18th by the Cowboys in the first round and has bounced around since then.

    Imagine where he would have been drafted a year earlier.

No. 12: Case Keenum

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    Case Keenum decided to return for his senior season at Houston, and it turned out to be a bad choice.

    Keenum tore his knee up trying to stop a player after an interception and was lost for the season.

    Houston is trying to get a sixth year of eligibility but I'm not sure that's going to happen for the quarterback. Keenum was an interesting pro prospect before this year.

    You wonder how this will change that.

No. 11: Noel Devine

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    After for running for almost 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns, Noel Devine thought it would best to stay at West Virginia.

    Devine's yards per carry has fallen almost two yards a carry and he's nowhere near what his level of production was last year.

    He was advised to stay by Deion Sanders and it's clear that Primetime had no idea what he was talking about.

    We'll see this spring how it impacts him.

No. 10: Colt McCoy

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    Colt McCoy was one of the best quarterbacks in college football after his junior year, but the lure of a national championship was too much to resist.

    McCoy made it to the big game but got hurt and didn't finish the game and watched his team lose from the sidelines.

    After that, he was drafted in the third round by Cleveland and is actually starting right now for the Browns.

    Poor guy, he loses a championship and plays for the Browns in the same year.

No. 9: Chad Henne

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    Chad Henne had great sophomore and junior years and decided to come back for his senior season with Michigan.

    Henne struggled with a knee injury and his stats were down from the previous seasons and finished his career by playing in the Capital One Bowl, beating Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators.

    Henne ended up being drafted near the end of the second round by the Dolphins.

    It would have been best to leave after that junior season.

No. 8: Ray Maualuga

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    After his junior year, Ray Maualuga was considered a top pro prospect, but the linebacker decided to stay for his senior year.

    Maualuga didn't have a terrible year and he he was named to the All-American team when it was all said and done.

    However, he was drafted in the second round, nowhere near where he would have been drafted had he left a year earlier.

    What a huge mistake.

No. 7: Taylor Mays

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    Taylor Mays had an amazing junior campaign for USC but decided to come back for his senior year.

    There was a lot of hype around Mays but he didn't play as well as he did in the year prior.

    He went in as a top prospect but his stock plummeted and he wasn't even the top player drafted at his position as his old coach, Pete Carroll, passed on him.

    That's the ultimate slap in the face.

No. 6: Ken Dorsey

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    Ken Dorsey was part of a national champion in Miami but he decided to come back for one more run at it with the Hurricanes.

    Dorsey ended up on the short end of the stick against Ohio State in the national championship game and then after that, the quarterback ended up being drafted in the seventh round.

    He had a very subpar NFL career and is now playing in the Canadian Football League.

    That's a shame.

No. 5: Jason White

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    After a Heisman Trophy-winning season, Jason White decided to make another run at a national championship after losing to LSU.

    White had a good year and was a Heisman finalist and ended up getting destroyed by USC in the national championship game.

    Not only that, but White didn't get drafted and had to retire before he even took a pro snap because of knee issues.

    You hate to see someone's career end like that.

No. 4: Tim Tebow

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    Tim Tebow had a lot of talk surrounding his decision on if he was going to go pro after his junior year at Florida.

    Tebow decided to stay a Gator and fell short of getting back to a national championship game, but Tebow was taken in the first round by the Broncos, a move that was questioned because he was expected to fall out of that slot.

    If he was taken then after his senior year, imagine how well he'd have done in the draft if he left after his junior year?

No. 3: Jake Locker

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    Jake Locker was expected to be a top draft pick in this spring's draft and he had a ton of Heisman hype around him this year.

    The season has turned out to be a disaster and now Washington is 3-5 and Locker has thrown more interceptions than he did all of last season.

    It's just a disaster and now Andrew Luck may have taken Locker's spot in the draft.

    Had he left last year, this could have all been avoided.

No. 2: Dan Marino

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    Dan Marino might be shocking to find on this list, but Marino was taken 27th the year he was drafted.

    You might be asking yourself why someone as talented as Marino could end up so far down the draft board.

    Well, Marino returned to Pittsburgh for his senior season and had a sub-par performance with knee issues and rumors of drug use.

    Had he left the year before, things could have been a lot different for Marino.

No. 1: Matt Leinart

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    Matt Leinart had every reason in the world to leave USC after his junior year. However, Leinart returned to USC to try and win another national championship.

    Leinart ended up losing to Vince Young, who hopped over Leinart on the draft board and was taken third overall by the Tennessee Titans. Leinart ended up taken 10th by the Cardinals and he never turned into a pro prospect.

    He's now a backup in Houston and I bet he wishes he took the money when he had the chance.