Dace Richardson's star-crossed college career ended on a high note, as he helped Iowa's offensive line overpower Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Richardson will go out on top, opting not to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. The All-Big Ten guard hopes to make it in the NFL, and if he can stay healthy, he's got a good shot.
With Richardson gone, the attention turns to left tackle Bryan Bulaga and cornerback Amari Spievey, both of whom face decisions about the NFL. Bulaga plans to release a statement later this week regarding his decision, while Spievey is heading home to Connecticut with no guarantees he'll be back in Iowa City for the start of the spring semester.
Here's what Bulaga told The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette on Tuesday night about his decision:
"The thing is it's not all about the money. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. It’s about the love of the game. Every guy in here dreams about the next level and going to the NFL. When an opportunity knocks on the door, some guys are ready to take it and some want to stay an extra year. That’s where I’m at right now. It’s more than just the money. It’s your career, it’s your dreams, it’s everything. There’s a lot more that goes into it than just making some money. There’s more to it than just that."
Sounds like a guy who's ready to make the jump to the next level. Bulaga certainly helped his cause Tuesday night against Georgia Tech. Aside from one holding penalty, he pretty much shut down star defensive end Derrick Morgan and created rushing lanes for Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher.
Bulaga already has the credentials to get noticed. He was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year this fall and earned back-to-back All-Big Ten honors.
It'd be a surprise if he came back. If Bulaga leaves, Iowa's offensive line will have to replace three starters, which is tough but far from impossible.
Spievey also could make the jump, though he said he's 50-50 right now. Another year at Iowa could help his draft stock, but it's already pretty high.