There has always been an argument to be made regarding college football athletes leaving early for the promises of the NFL. You can count coach Steve Spurrier in the group that sees no problem with it.
“Any time one of them tells me he wants to go pro, I shake his hand and say ‘good luck, I’m all for you.’ I think the day of a coach trying to talk a kid into staying is not smart. It’s not smart,” Spurrier said, via NFL.com. “He can get hurt his last year. Marcus Lattimore, after his second big injury, he came to me and said ‘Coach, I’m going to go pro.’ I said, ‘I agree. You need to go pro right now. You don’t need to get that knee healed back up, then God forbid, get hurt again in another season where you’re not getting paid anything.’”
Spurrier brings up a great points on the injury front for sure. A player risks hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions by playing his senior year at the college level. One hit that sends a knee into another direction and he better hope that he took real college courses because he won’t get a legit shot in the NFL. At least not one that comes with a high end payday.
On the other side of that coin is an annual draft stock report that is provided to underclassmen who are weighing the options of making the leap from college to the pros. This report gives prospective incoming NFL players an idea of where their draft value may lie. For example a junior may be given a draft projection of an early to mid 2nd round spot while another may receive lower or higher projections. The issue here is that an underclassmen may look at that as more than a simple estimate and will need to take a careful look at their options.
Most college football players will meet disappoint at some point between leaving school, facing the draft, and then the realization of what an NFL camp and season is like. Most don’t make it regardless of whether they are drafted high, middle, low, or not at all. Spurrier gave his thoughts on that as well.
“We had two that didn’t get drafted, but they were ready to go pro. When they say they’re ready to go pro, that means ‘I’m tired of school. I want to go try and get paid to play football,’ and it’s time for them to move on,” Spurrier said.