Well, so much for the labor uncertainty swirling around the NFL landscape forcing draft-eligible players back into school.
The NFL released this afternoon the full list of eligible underclassmen who have made themselves available for the 2011 draft, and it includes a record 56 players. The original mark of 53 was set in 2008 and matched in 2010.
As had been previously reported, names such as Auburn’s Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers, Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers and LSU’s Patrick Peterson litter the roster of players who will be plying their football wares at the next level this year. Provided any games are played, of course.
The only surprise on the list is Oregon defensive back Javes Lewis, who, as far as we are aware, had not previously been reported as leaving early. Lewis started 12 games in 2009, but just one during the Ducks’ run to the BcS title game.
Defensive line was the position that saw the most attrition, with 13 players leaving early, followed by wide receivers and running backs with 11 each. 10 defensive backs also left collegiate eligibility on the table.
For the complete list of underclassmen who declared for the April draft, click HERE.