UCF DC Randy Shannon: Players Who Skip Bowl Games Likely to 'Tank It' in NFL

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2018

Florida interim head coach Randy Shannon directs his players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida State won 38-22. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

UCF defensive coordinator Randy Shannon isn't a fan of the recent trend of players skipping bowl games to prepare for the NFL draft.

According to ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss, Shannon questioned if players who sit out bowl games will have the desire to play hard when things aren't going well in the NFL: "My opinion, it probably will fester more and more in college. And then now the NFL is going to have to make a decision. If you draft a young man that leaves early and now you're not a playoff team, that young man [is] going to say, 'I'm not going to play.' Same situation. Right, wrong or indifferent."

Shannon added: "If a team is 6-9, no chance of them making the playoffs, are they going to play, or are they going to tank it? Especially if you're on the last year of your contract, option year."

A long list of high-profile players decided to skip bowl games this season to avoid potential injuries, including West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, Stanford running back Bryce Love, Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, Iowa tight end Noah Fant and LSU cornerback Greedy Williams.

An anonymous NFL scout disagreed with Shannon's assessment, telling John Taylor of College Football Talk: "The fact that [Shannon] thinks that ... matters to people at this level shows just how out of touch he really is. ... It's embarrassing."

Some players who skipped bowl games over the past two seasons have already enjoyed great success in the NFL, including Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward and Denver Broncos pass-rusher Bradley Chubb.

Each is considered to be among the biggest up-and-coming stars at his position.

The 52-year-old Shannon has been a coach since 1991, so he's used to players finishing their collegiate careers regardless of their draft status.

Many players are now protecting themselves, though, ensuring they don't get injured before they can land a big NFL contract.

Because of that, LSU will be without one of its top defensive players in Williams, and UCF will look to take advantage of his absence Tuesday when the Knights and Tigers clash in the Fiesta Bowl.