Two USC juniors -- right tackle Tyron Smith and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey -- have big decisions to mull in the coming weeks, with early entry into the 2011 NFL draft a possibility for both.
Smith and Casey both said after Saturday's win over UCLA they were "50-50" on whether to stay for their senior seasons at USC or to enter the draft, although Smith said earlier Saturday that he was "leaning toward" returning to USC. Smith also said he would decide by the end of this week; Casey seemed like he was going to wait a while longer, filing out an evaluation form with the league and waiting to hear back from that before making a decision.
Smith, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, is significantly smaller than the NFL prototype at either of the tackle spots. But his quickness and agility are a lot better than the average tackle coming out of college. With a good pre-draft workout season, it's not hard to see Smith finding his way into the second or third rounds.
See what he had to say about all of that:
The 6-foot-1, 305-pound Casey started the season atop Mel Kiper's list of the Top 5 non-senior defensive tackles -- above Auburn's Nick Fairley and Alabama's Marcell Dareus -- but has since fallen to fourth in the rankings. His likely projection at this time appears to be in the second round, although that could change based on pre-draft workouts even if he does declare.
If he returns, he'll be the centerpiece of a defensive line that will expected to be dominant, returning Christian Tupou, who tore his ACL in spring practice and missed the season, as well as Wes Horton, Nick Perry and (most likely) Armond Armstead.
See what Casey had to say Saturday about the decision he has to make and the future of the USC football program: