A month ago Virginia linebacker Max Valles took to Twitter to shut down any rumors suggesting he had decided to forgo his final year at Virginia to enter the NFL Draft. Today, Valles is singing a different tune, and will indeed pass on the 2015 season to enter the NFL Draft.
“After talking it over with my family, I am officially declaring for the NFL Draft,” Valles said on Twitter.
The loss of Valles is another blow to the defensive depth for the Cavaliers in 2015. Valles was the team’s third-leading tackler among linebackers, with the top two — Daquan Romero and Henry Coley — each being seniors. Valles had 55 tackles in 2014, including a team-high eight sacks among his 12.5 tackles for a loss this past season. Virginia is set to lose five of their top six tacklers from the 2014 season.
Valles joins Eli Harold as the second Virgina underclassmen to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. The Cavaliers do hope to have some veteran leadership on defense next season after defensive back Demetrious Nicholson was awarded a sixth year of eligibility from the ACC this week.
We happen to share plenty of the negative stories surrounding college football players in the offseason, so it is refreshing to be able to share a positive story.
Kaiwan Lewis, a starting linebacker at South Carolina, took it upon himself to organize a free football clinic for the Pleasantville Jokers junior football league team. He rounded up some former high school teammates and opponents to help out for the worthy cause. Some of those who helped out with the clinic included Virginia outside linebacker Max Valles and Penn State linebacker Brandon Bell. In all, 20 kids between the ages of six and 14 took advantage of the opportunity to work on some football skills in the clinic.
“I played on the same field as a child, so I wanted to come back and show the kids that there is a way out, and the world is bigger than this community,” Lewis said, according to The Press of Atlantic City. “I’m not going to be somebody who just made it and forget where I came from.”
“We either had our dad or our older brother take us outside,” Bell said,” so this is definitely better than anything we ever had. Hopefully we can grow and make it a bigger thing each year.”
It is important to remember there are plenty of college football players doing good things out there to hopefully make a difference. This story is a reminder of just that.