If it seemed like there were an inordinately high number of players eschewing their remaining eligibility for the NFL, you weren’t wrong.
Last year, a record 119 players — 106 who hadn’t graduated, 13 who had — declared early for the 2018 NFL draft. Friday, the NFL announced that record has been shattered, with 135 players with collegiate eligibility remaining now included in the 2019 draft pool.
Of the 135, 32 have already graduated.
Prior to last year, the record was 98 who left for the 2014 draft. The next three years saw 84 (2015), 96 (2016) and 95 (2017) early entrants into the drafts.
The SEC was far and away the leader among FBS conferences again this year with 36 early departures — South Carolina was the only school in the conference that didn’t lose at least one player — followed by the Big Ten with 21, the ACC with 16, the Big 12 with 14 and the Pac-12 with nine. The Mountain West’s nine led all Group of Five conferences, while five of the early entrants came from non-FBS schools.
As far as individual schools go, five saw five or more players leave eligibility on the table: Alabama led everyone with seven, with Oklahoma and Ohio State next with six each followed by Florida and Penn State with five apiece.
For the complete list of early entrants into the 2019 NFL Draft, click HERE.