While the big news Thursday was that Stanford QB Andrew Luck decided to stay a Cardinal, plenty of others are leaving school early to become a member of another class — the 2011 NFL Draft class.
With Luck out, the number one pick could fall to Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers who made his intentions known on Thursday. Bowers had 15 sacks this season — the most in the country — and won the Bronko Nagurski Award for the best defensive player in the nation.
Another big name to declare is Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett who led the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl game this season — a 31-26 loss to the Buckeyes on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt also announced his intent and is expected to go in a high round. Watt was first team all Big Ten this year and had 21 tackles for a loss – the third most in the nation.
Other players who declared their intent this week include Virginia Tech RB Darren Evans who lead the Hokies in rushing with 854 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph who was hampered with a hamstring industry this season.