Today is the final deadline for college football underclassmen to declare their intention to enter the 2020 NFL draft, and we now have much more clarity on who will be available for the Raiders to select in a few months.
For a complete list of the underclassmen who have declared, follow this link.
There’s been a consistent upward trend in the amount of underclassmen to declare over the past few years, but this year it seems that a fair amount of eligible prospects have decided to return to school in an effort to obtain their degrees and/or boost their draft stock.
Across the decade as draft websites have become more trendy, many young prospects have been swayed by things they read on the internet regarding their draft stock. Over 100 underclassmen declared in both 2018 and 2019. In 2011 only 56 declared, and there were just 53 players to leave early in 2010.
Here’s the number of underclass declarations over the past decade by season:
With the deadline happening today, the big news mostly revolved around LSU defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson officially declaring, and Clemson running back Travis E’tienne returning to school.
E’tienne is one of a number of running back prospects who unexpectedly elected to pass on the NFL for a season over the past week, including Chuba Hubbard, Kylin HIll, and Raider fan favorite Najee Harris.
The most surprising players returning to school include Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey, Stanford CB Paulson Adebo (who happened to initially be my second favorite corner in the draft), Alabama WR Devonta Smith, Tennessee guard Trey Smith, and Florida State safety Hamsah Nasirildeen.
The most disappointing development for Raider fans is the fact that North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt decided to return for his senior season, which was especially surprising considering that he has already graduated despite having a year of eligibility remaining. Surratt made his decision on Jan. 6, and it became final today with the deadline passing.
While one cannot fault a player for staying in school to continue to develop as a player and as a person, it’s natural for NFL fans to be a bit disappointed about their favorite draft targets not being available.
As of this article, 107 underclassmen have declared, which would mark an all-time high despite the unexpected players who returned to school.