Early Entries: 2011 NFL Draft
College football underclassmen who have elected to turn pro early
Name School Position Year
Darvin Adams Auburn WR Jr.
Marvin Austin North Carolina DT Jr.
Akeem Ayers UCLA LB Jr.
Jon Baldwin Pitt WR Jr.
Da'Quan Bowers Clemson DE Jr.
DeAndre Brown Southern Miss WR Jr.
Brandon Burton Utah CB Jr.
Jurrell Casey USC DT Jr.
John Clay Wisconsin RB Jr.
Nick Claytor Georgia Tech OT Jr.
Randall Cobb Kentucky AP Jr.
Marcell Dareus Alabama DE Jr.
Tandon Doss Indiana WR Jr.
Darren Evans Virginia Tech RB Jr.
Nick Fairley Auburn DT Jr.
Blaine Gabbert Missouri QB Jr.
A.J. Green Georgia WR Jr.
Tori Gurley South Carolina WR So.
Lawrence Guy Arizona State DT Jr.
Jamel Hamler Fresno State WR Jr.
Jamie Harper Clemson RB Jr.
Brandon Harris Miami CB Jr.
Will Hill Florida S Jr.
Justin Houston Georgia LB Jr.
Henry Hynoski Pitt FB Jr.
Mark Ingram Alabama RB Jr.
Julio Jones Alabama WR Jr.
Thomas Keiser Stanford LB Jr.
Mikel Leshoure Illinois RB Jr.
Dion Lewis Pitt RB So.
Javes Lewis Oregon DB Jr.
Greg Little North Carolina WR Jr.
Corey Liuget Illinois DT Jr.
Ryan Mallett Arkansas QB Jr.
Rahim Moore UCLA S Jr.
Cam Newton Auburn QB Jr.
Zane Parr Virginia DE Jr.
Patrick Peterson LSU CB Jr.
Robert Quinn North Carolina DE Jr.
Stevan Ridley LSU RB Jr.
Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon State RB Jr.
Kyle Rudolph Notre Dame TE Jr.
Robert Sands West Virginia S Jr.
Tyler Sash Iowa S Jr.
Sealver Siliga Utah DT Jr.
Aldon Smith Missouri DE So.
Torrey Smith Maryland WR/KR Jr.
Tyron Smith USC OT Jr.
Jerrard Tarrant Georgia Tech DB Jr.
Jordan Todman Connecticut RB Jr.
Shane Vereen Cal RB Jr.
J.J. Watt Wisconsin DE Jr.
Muhammad Wilkerson Temple DT Jr.
Aaron Williams Texas CB Jr.
Ryan Williams Virginia Tech RB So.
Martez Wilson Illinois LB Jr.
56 Underclassman Leave Early for NFL Draft
NEW YORK (AP) -- Cam Newton and Nick Fairley of national champion Auburn are among 56 non-seniors who applied for April's NFL draft - a record total, but only three more players than left college early a year ago.
Complete list of early entries
The uncertainty surrounding the league's labor situation does not appear to have had a significant effect on underclassmen opting to declare for the draft. The NFL released the names on Wednesday, and it's the fifth time in the past seven years that more than 50 players were granted what the league calls "special eligibility."
There were 53 players in 2010 and 2008, the previous high; 52 in 2006; 51 in 2005.
Newton, a quarterback, and Fairley, a defensive tackle, are joined by three other All-American juniors heading to the draft: Kentucky receiver-returner Randall Cobb, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.
There weren't any surprising additions to the list - or omissions. Most underclassmen who were deciding whether to enter the draft had made their choices public by Saturday's deadline to tell the NFL they wanted to leave school early. Players then had 72 hours to withdraw their names, but no significant players changed their minds.
One top underclassman not on the list: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who had said he would be returning to school. His father, former NFL quarterback and current West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, said they discussed the possible lockout in the league but that wasn't a decisive factor in Andrew's choice.
The draft is April 28-30, even if there is no new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires in early March. If owners lock out the players - as the union expects - rookies wouldn't be able to sign contracts until a new CBA is in place.
Among the factors underclassmen might have considered:
- It's possible there won't be a 2011 NFL season at all, so players leaving college could wind up sitting out an entire year.
- Even if an agreement is reached in time for next season to be played, the timing of a deal might result in shortened training camps or no minicamps, so a rookie would have less time to learn his new team's system and prove he deserves to start - or, in some cases, even make the roster.
- Owners are intent on having a rookie wage scale be part of a new CBA. Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote about "the outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies" in a recent letter sent to fans about the labor situation, and such a change could apply to the 2011 draft class.
- Entering the pros sooner starts a player's NFL "clock" sooner, moving him closer to his second contract and free agency, which could be particularly attractive if a rookie wage scale is created.
Still, in a telephone interview before last weekend's deadline, agent Peter Schaffer said he didn't think a potential lockout was affecting decisions.
"I really don't believe the uncertainty of the labor situation is skewing decisions one way or another in any significant proportion," Schaffer said. "It's pretty much been business as usual."
OSU Whips Iowa
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It wasn't Ohio State coach Thad Matta's idea to drill his players on defense this week.
It was theirs.
David Lighty scored 18 points and Ohio State wasn't tested in its first game as No. 1, rolling over Iowa 70-48 on Wednesday night.
•Ohio State beat Iowa for the sixth straight time.
•The Buckeyes are 19-0, the third-best start in school history.
•David Lighty became the third player in Ohio State history with at least 1,000 career points, 500 career rebounds and 300 career assists in this game, joining Evan Turner and Jim Jackson.
•Iowa is 0-10 this season when allowing at least 70 points.
"It was funny, in the film session on Monday they kind of said, 'Hey, looking at the scores we've given up, we can play better [defensively] than this,' " Matta said. "So I told them before the game, 'You're the ones who said that, now we've got to go out and back it up.' I thought they did that."
The Buckeyes (19-0, 6-0 Big Ten) improved to 60-4 when ranked first in The Associated Press poll.
Shaky at times on offense, they set the tone and tenor with their defense right out of the box.
"They got us off to a slow start," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "You go on the road, you play a team of this caliber, you need to get off to a good start offensively. You need some buckets, you need to settle down, you need to get some type of flow. We never had a flow. Every basket we got in the first half was a struggle."
Up 40-23 at halftime, the Buckeyes reeled off seven of the first nine points of the second half to push the lead to 22. The outcome wasn't in doubt the rest of the way.
William Buford had 15 points and Jared Sullinger added 13 for the Buckeyes, topping the polls for the first time since the final three weeks of the 2006-07 regular season. That season's team went to the national championship game, losing to defending champion Florida and finishing with a 35-4 record.
Lighty said nothing changed for the Buckeyes by moving up a spot in the rankings to replace Duke, which had been on top all season.
"From our point of view, nothing was really different at all," he said. "We approached the game the same way, practiced the same way -- just worrying about us and getting better."
Four players had four assists apiece for the Buckeyes. Aaron Craft set an Ohio State freshman record with seven steals, tying for the second-most ever at the school behind Troy Taylor's eight against Saint Joseph's in 1983.
"That's a team stat," he said. "Everyone's in the gaps and putting pressure on the ball. I appreciate that I just happened to get that stat tonight."
The Buckeyes are off to the third-best start in the school's 112 seasons, behind only the 1960-61 team (27-0), and the 1961-62 team (22-0). Both of those teams also went to the NCAA title game, losing to Cincinnati.
The Buckeyes did have a season-high 20 turnovers, hardly the way to tune up for a big test on Saturday at Illinois (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. T-23 AP) .
That's an area that will require work. In the coming weeks, any problem area will be revealed. Seven of Ohio State's next nine opponents are ranked this week.
"You can only play one team at one time," Lighty said. "Whoever's next, that's who we have to worry about. It's going to be tough on the road, wherever you play, especially in the Big Ten. So we have to have our minds right."
Andrew Brommer had 12 points, Melsahn Basabe 11 and Bryce Cartwright added 10 for Iowa (7-11, 0-6), playing a ranked team for the fifth time in its past six games.
The Hawkeyes fell to 2-19 against teams ranked No. 1.
Just 15 days ago, Iowa gave the Buckeyes all they could handle before falling 73-68 in Iowa City. Not this time.
"The defense made a big difference for us obviously, because we didn't give them as many easy baskets as we did up there," Matta said. "We allowed them to gain some momentum on us a couple of weeks ago. In the game tonight, we set the tone of, 'Hey, we're here to defend tonight.' And that was a big thing going into the game."
Dallas Lauderdale, a starter with diminishing minutes, set the tone early for the Buckeyes. He had seven points -- he came in averaging 4.5 -- in the opening 5:37 as Ohio State opened a 12-4 lead.
After that, the Buckeyes got going in transition. Buford, who had 11 points in the first half, and Lighty, who added eight, hurried the ball down the court or whipped it around the perimeter for easy baskets.
"When you look at their shooting percentages in the first half, 54 [from the field] and 46 [on 3s], it's hard to win against a team like this," McCaffery said. "Obviously, it's not the only time they've done this. They've got really good shooters and a great low-post game."