The ACC has some talented juniors who could be lured to the NFL a year early. Based on a survey of conference sports information directors and information from ESPN's Scouts Inc.'s draft database, here’s a quick look at who they are, and whether or not they’ve announced anything:
S DeAndre McDaniel – Mel Kiper ranks him the No. 4 safety in his class. Scouts Inc. has him the No. 6 player at his position and the No. 64 overall.
QB Christian Ponder, OG Rodney Hudson and DE Markus White – They’re all staying. Hudson is the No. 1 guard in his class, according to Mel Kiper, and Ponder’s injury had a lot to do with his return.
S Morgan Burnett – He didn’t live up to the hype this season and could probably improve his stock with another year. Kiper still has him the No. 2 junior safety.
B-Back Jonathan Dwyer – Rated the No. 3 junior running back in his class by Mel Kiper.
QB Josh Nesbitt – Not ranked in ESPN’s Scouts Inc. database.
DE Derrick Morgan – Kiper has him the No. 1 end in his class, and he’s No. 9 on Kiper’s latest Big Board. It would be a surprise if he returned.
WR Demaryius Thomas – He told me after the ACC championship game he’s staying, but that was before he received his draft evaluation. Georgia Tech fans should hope he sticks with it. Kiper has him the No. 4 junior WR.
OL Bruce Campbell – His career has been marred by injuries, and he could use another year to get more experience, not to mention a better contract. Scouts Inc. has him at No. 4 in his position and No. 27 overall.
None of the following players were ranked by Scouts Inc.:
DE Allen Bailey – Kiper has him the No. 5 end in his class.
LB Colin McCarthy
OL Orlando Franklin
RB Graig Cooper
LB Quan Sturdivant – Kiper ranks him the No. 2 junior inside linebacker.
DT Marvin Austin – Kiper ranks him the No. 3 tackle in his class.
LB Bruce Carter – Has publicly stated he will return.
TB Toney Baker – He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, but hasn’t said yet whether or not he’d take it. He is currently not ranked in the draft prospect database by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
QB Tyrod Taylor and DE Jason Worilds – Both staying.