Brandon Coleman

Tide’s Sunseri one of record 98 players declaring for draft

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A draft-eligible Alabama rumored to be headed to the NFL — or not — will indeed be a part of a record-breaking pool this May.

Tide defensive back Vinnie Sunseri was one of 98 players included on the NFL’s official list, released Sunday, of players “who have been granted special eligibility” for the upcoming draft.  It was reported a week ago that the safety was leaning toward making the early leap into the NFL, although there was some vacillation as the redshirt junior waited until right up until the Jan. 15 deadline — plus the three additional days allotted to reconsider, provided there’s no signing with an agent — before making his final decision.

Sunseri is still rehabbing a torn ACL, which he suffered in a mid-October win over Arkansas.

The 98 players granted special eligibility by the NFL is a record, shattering and/or obliterating the old mark of 73 set just last year.  That standard broke the record of 65 set the year before that.  In 2004, just 43 players with eligibility remaining left school early.

For the second consecutive year, LSU led all schools with seven early entrants.  In 2013, the Tigers saw 10 players leave early.  Sunseri gave the Tide five players leaving early, the same number as USC and one-win Cal (?).  Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and South Carolina each saw four players take the early jump into the NFL.

2014 marks the sixth consecutive year that the number of early entrants has increased.

The number could have actually topped the century mark as four players who have left school early but have already graduated were not included in the NFL’s official count: Southern California defensive back Dion Bailey, Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard.

You can view the complete, official list of early entrants into the NFL draft:

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An unofficial list of underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft

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The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is upon us. It looks like we’ll have a record 92 (at minimum) declarations this year, easily topping last year’s record of 73. This draft should be among the most talent-laden in recent history.

Why the sudden exodus? Blame the new rookie wage scale, which rewards less money to first round draft picks and delays the big payout until a player’s second contract. That means the more time spent in the league, the better. A lot of these players want to get moving on proving themselves, even if they are a late round pick at the start.

Here’s the unofficial list of early entries as of the Jan. 15 deadline. The NFL will have an official list on Jan. 19:

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
George Atkinson III, RB, Notre Dame
Dion Bailey, S, USC
Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State
Brendan Bigelow, RB, California
Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Chris Boyd, WR, Vanderbilt
Carl Bradford, DE/OLB, Arizona State
Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
Jonathan Dowling, S, Western Kentucky
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
Mike Flacco, TE, New Haven
Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Khairi Fortt, LB, California
Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Xavier Grimble, TE, USC
Vic Hampton, CB, South Carolina
Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama
Kameron Jackson, CB, California
Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Aaron Lynch, DE, USF
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
Viliami Moala, DT, California
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State
Jake Murphy, TE, Utah
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Jeoffrey Pagan, DL, Alabama
Ronald Powell, LB, Florida
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Kelcy Quarles, DL, South Carolina
Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB
Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Richard Rodgers, TE California
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Jerome Smith, RB, Syracuse
Willie Snead, WR, Ball State
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OL, UCLA
De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Trai Turner, OG, LSU
George Uko, DL, USC
Pierre Warren, FS, Jacksonville State
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Terrance West, RB, Towson
James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State
David Yankey, OL, Stanford

Rutgers giving Notre Dame plenty of fight but leaving some scratching heads as well

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Few gave Rutgers a puncher’s chance against the Fighting Irish in the Pinstripe Bowl, but the Scarlet Knights have more than held their own as Rutgers and Notre Dame reach halftime tied at 13-13.

The Irish and Scarlet Knights traded blows in the first quarter, first with field goals and then with touchdowns. Notre Dame’s touchdown came on a run by TJ Jones, who later had to leave the game due to a shoulder injury. His status is uncertain for the remainder of the game. The Rutgers touchdown came with Chas Dodd completing a pass to Brandon Coleman, his 20th career touchdown reception. That tied a Rutgers school record for most career touchdown receptions.

The first half had a handful of missed opportunities for both teams though. Notre Dame had their backs against the wall with Rutgers pushing for a touchdown, but Kyle Flood opted to kick a short field goal to tie the game at 13-13 rather than gamble on fourth down close to the end zone. Notre Dame was flagged for offsides on the field goal try, but Flood decided to keep the three points instead of risk it for a potential lead. Notre Dame moved down field on the ensuing drive but was unable to convert a field goal try.

Rutgers had another promising looking drive developing but a poorly executed halfback pass by Justin Goodwin was picked off by Notre Dame’s KeiVarae Russell just outside of the end zone. Rutgers had been moving the ball well and had been given a boost by an unsportsmanlike penalty against Irish defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt for 15 yards. Notre Dame was forced to punt but time ran out on Rutgers before being able to tack on any more points before halftime. Rutgers then took a knee despite having two timeouts remaining.

 

Brandon Coleman leaving Rutgers for NFL

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The exodus of draft-eligible players continues unabated Sunday morning, with Rutgers the latest to feel the sting of an early leap to the NFL.

The Scarlet Knights announced in a press release Saturday that wide receiver Brandon Coleman has decided to forego his final season of eligibility and make himself available for the 2014 NFL draft.  Coleman, the school noted, is the seventh player since 2008 at Rutgers to leave school early and enter the NFL Draft.

Coleman will play in the Scarlet Knights’ New Era Pinstripe Bowl game against Notre Dame, which will serve as his finale at the collegiate level.

The 6-6 Coleman has started 26 of the 38 games in which he’s played during his time in Piscataway.  He has 92 career receptions for 1,743 yards, and his 19 receiving touchdowns are second on the school’s all-time list.

Tuesday offseason one-liners

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Some links from around college football on a Tuesday… 

— UCLA freshman defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes is currently battling back issues.

Tempers were high in the Bruins practice Monday.

— Former Alabama offensive lineman Caleb Gulledge is transferring to Jacksonville State.

A.J. McCarron is doing fine after injuring his foot.

— Who are six transfer quarterbacks who could make a difference for their teams this year?

— I don’t even know what’s going on here but it’s awesome and I want more.

— Rutgers wide receiver Brandon Coleman should be cleared for full practice later this week.

— Which four teams could beat preseason BCS favorite Alabama? Sports Illustrated examines.

— A new football practice facility still seems a long way off for Maryland.