Penn State is already starting to have a few more roster spots to fill in 2015 than James Franklin may have initially expected. Tight end Jesse James, a three-year starter, has announced he will forgo his final year of eligibility at Penn State and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
“After serious consideration and much discussion with my family, teammates and coaches, I have opted to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft,” James said in a statement released by Penn State Monday afternoon. “Competing on Sundays has always been my dream and I believe the time to pursue this dream is now. This was an extremely difficult decision to make–my time at Penn State has been amazing and unforgettable.”
“We want to thank Jesse for all he’s done at Penn State and wish him all the best in the NFL,” Franklin said. “Jesse has been a big contributor for the program on and off the field and we’re looking forward to watching him at the next level.”
James was Penn State’s third-leading receiver in 2014 with 396 yards and three touchdowns. James blossomed in his role as tight end under former head coach Bill O’Brien and he continued to be one of the more reliable targets for Christian Hackenberg in 2014, although there were some setbacks at times this season with the instability of the offensive line.
Where James goes in the draft remains unknown of course. Fortunately for Penn State the position of tight end appears to be decently stocked in spite of roster restrictions under NCAA sanctions the past couple of seasons. Penn State returns Kyle Carter, Mike Gesicki and Brent Wilkerson in 2015, and the Nittany Lions anticipate having Adam Breneman healthy in the fall.