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All 32 NFL personnel departments are frantically sifting through college tapes and making calls to head coaches, offensive coordinators, position coaches, pro liaisons, academic advisors and trainers at the college level for background information and injury history. They are also calling high school coaches for all 80 underclassmen who have declared for the 2013 NFL Draft.

The NFL’s personnel department, located in the league office, and their committee, made up of general managers, VP’s of player personnel and directors of college scouting, have evaluated all players who submitted their name for a round grade based off the most recent film, or DNA. The players are contacted by the NFL league office with the round grade (ie round 1, 1-2, round 2, 2-3 etc) received from the committee, the committee then makes a call to the college contact person with the same information. Each of the 80 players have completed a league mandated three years of college eligibility and all had to submit a written application with the signature of the student athlete and the head coach by January 15th.

These early out juniors have been granted what the NFL calls “special eligibility,” and will be a part of the biggest off season event, the 2013 NFL Draft. It will be held on April 25-27th in New York. The 1st round will be held on Thursday, April 25. The 2nd & 3rd rounds will be on Friday, April 26. Rounds 4-7 will be held on Saturday, April 27.

I worked on the Underclassmen Committee for seven years. Ten years ago the NCAA and Grant Teaff, the Executive Director of the AFCA, approached the NFL and their message was, help us! We don’t want to lose these young players if they are not ready for the next level of competition, we don’t wont agents and their runners to lure them for the wrong reasons, we don’t want our graduation rates to suffer. They responded by developing a process that is still in place, the NFL’s Underclassmen Committee was born.

Each year we have seen the numbers for early out juniors grow for several reasons, below is the number of underclassmen who have declared for the NFL Draft each year for the last ten years.

2013 (80) 2008 (53)
2012 (65) 2007 (40)
2011 (56) 2006 (52)
2010 (53) 2005 (51)
2009 (46) 2004 (43)

The players granted special eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft:

Number Player Pos. College

1   Allen, Keenan WR California
2   Amerson, David DB North Carolina State
3   Armstrong, Ray-Ray Miami DB (Fla)
4   Bailey, Alvin G Arkansas
5   Bailey, Stedman WR West Virginia
6   Bakhtiari, David T Colorado
7   Beckford, Dwayne LB Purdue
8   Bell, Le’Veon RB Michigan State
9   Bernard, Giovani RB North Carolina
10   Boyce, Josh Texas WR Christian
11   Bray, Tyler QB Tennessee
12   Brown, Terrence DB Stanford
13   Carter, Duron WR Ohio State
14   Davis, Knile RB Arkansas
15   Edwards, Mike DB Hawaii
16   Eifert, Tyler TE Notre Dame
17   Elam, Matt DB Florida
18   Ertz, Zach TE Stanford
19   Escobar, Gavin TE San Diego State
20   Faulk, Chris OT Louisiana State
21   Floyd, Sharrif DT Florida
22   Fluker, D.J. OT Alabama
23   Ford, Michael RB Louisiana State
24   Frederick, Travis C Wisconsin
25   Geathers, Kwame NT Georgia
26   Gholston, William DE Michigan State
27   Hankins, Johnathan DT Ohio State
28   Harley, Jajuan DB Middle Tennessee
29   Hopkins, DeAndre WR Clemson
30   Hunter, Justin WR Tennessee
31   Jamison, Jawan RB Rutgers
32   Jefferson, Stefphon RB Nevada
33   Jefferson, Tony DB Oklahoma
34   Jenkins, Jelani LB Florida
35   Joeckel, Luke T Texas A&M
36   Jones, Jarvis LB Georgia
37   Jose, Jose DT Central Florida
38   Kruger, Joe DE Utah
39   Lacy, Eddie RB Alabama
40   Lattimore, Marcus RB South Carolina
41   Lemonier, Corey DE Auburn
42   Logan, Bennie DT Louisiana State
43   Maponga, Stansly DE Texas Christian
44   Mathieu, Tyrann DB Louisiana State
45   Milliner, Dee DB Alabama
46   Mingo, Barkevious DE Louisiana State
47   Minter, Kevin LB Louisiana State
48   Montgomery, Sam DE Louisiana State
49   Moore, Brandon DT Texas
50   Moore, Damontre DE Texas A&M
51   Ogletree, Alec LB Georgia
52   Parker, Thomas LS North Carolina
53   Patterson, Cordarrelle WR Tennessee
54   Pugh, Justin OT Syracuse
55   Randle, Bradley RB Nevada-Las Vegas
56   Randle, Joseph RB Oklahoma State
57   Reed, Jordan TE Florida
58   Reid, Eric DB Louisiana State
59   Reid, Greg DB Florida State
60   Rhodes, Xavier DB Florida State
61   Richardson, Sheldon DT Missouri
62   Robey, Nickell DB Southern California
63   Ryan, Logan DB Rutgers
64   Sanders, Ace WR South Carolina
65   Sentimore, Darrington DT Tennessee
66   Simon, Tharold DB Louisiana State
67   Sims, Dion TE Michigan State
68   Spence, Akeem DT Illinois
69   Stills, Kenny WR Oklahoma
70   Toilolo, Levine TE Stanford
71   Ware, Spencer RB Louisiana State
72   Watson, Menelik T Florida State
73   Werner, Bjoern DE Florida State
74   Williams, Steve DB California
75   Wilson, Marquess WR Washington State
76   Wing, Brad P Louisiana State
77   Wood, Cierre RB Notre Dame
78   Woods, Robert WR Southern California
79   Wort, Tom LB Oklahoma
80   Wright, Jeremy RB Louisville

Three years from now will tell the tale on the careers of these early out juniors. How many will be in the league for a cup of coffee and go back to school to finish their degree or bounce from team to team on practice squads? Who will ascend into pro bowlers, all pros or become Super Bowl champions? Time will tell.