‘Should I stay or should I go now… If I leave there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double… So you gotta let me know, should I stay or should I go’. Who would have thought that a song written by The Clash in 1981 would be relevant to sports in 2011? Recently, Andrew Luck, the consensus number one pick in the upcoming draft, shocked the sports world when he announced that he was going to return to Stanford and pass up the opportunity to be the first overall pick in the NFL draft in April. Are you crazy, kid? Luck is passing up roughly $50 million dollars by returning to school for his junior year. With his dad, Oliver Luck, being the Athletic Director at West Virginia, money may not mean everything to Luck. While I disagree with his decision, I do have to respect it. We have seen past players do the same, such as Sam Bradford, Jake Locker and everyone’s favorite partying quarterback, Matt Leinart.
Bradford ended up getting injured against BYU in Oklahoma’s first game of the 2009 season, and he missed the rest of that year. Luckily for him, he proved he was still worthy of the first overall pick by the St. Louis Rams, where he took the team from last place to a week 17 showdown for the NFC West title. Jake Locker returned to the University of Washington this past season only to hurt his draft stock. Going into the draft last year, Locker was viewed as one of the top 2-3 quarterbacks and a sure first round pick. Where does he stand now? Locker will still get drafted, but he is now the 5th or 6th best quarterback on the board and will go in the second round, in my opinion. Then you have Matt Leinhart. College sweetheart, frat party crasher and the future of the NFL. Leinart passed up his opportunity to be the top signal caller to be drafted when he decided to return to school. What’s happened since then? Well, he has seen more time on the set of ‘The House Bunny’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ then he has on the field. So with the NFL season in limbo for next year, I have to ask Mr. Luck – what are you thinking? You realize that there will no doubt be a new collective bargaining agreement in place in the NFL to adjust the astronomical values of Rookie contracts, right? Also, with your buddy Jim Harbaugh taking the job for the 49er’s, should you not worry that you may not have the same success next season? Strike while the iron is hot, Andrew!
Saying Luck should take off for the draft is easy, but how about some of the potential Pitt Panthers who are thinking about declaring for the draft early? Since this is a Pitt blog, after all, why don’t we take a look and offer our advice to 3 potential early entrees after their win against Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Remember, they only have until January 15th to make their decision official.
Jon Baldwin – We saw this coming at the beginning of the season: Baldwin has said he will enter the draft. After a huge coming-out party last year, Baldwin’s 2010 junior season has been a disappointment minus the huge game against Rutgers. He said the day Dave Wannstedt was fired that he was leaving for the draft and he felt the team was trying to make his draft stock take a hit. He also said that even if he did decide to return, a new coach would still have the same quarterback, an obvious shot at Tino Sunseri. Baldwin has the frame and the pure athletic ability that is needed to succeed at the next level. He will put on a show at the combine and improve his stock to late first round only to show the team that drafts him that he is as immature and hard-headed as they come. Another year won’t help solve that. Should he stay or should he go? Go.
Dion Lewis – ‘Dion for Heisman’. That’s what everyone said during the beginning of the year as the Heisman hopeful geared up for another big season after his astonishing Freshman year. The only problem is that teams were ready for him as seen against Utah in the season opener. Though I can’t blame Dion if he decides to bolt for the draft, I really think it will only help him improve his prospects if he returns. However, he doesn’t know the shape of the program and he may not want to deal with the changes that are going to take place. It was said earlier this week that Lewis was told he will be a third round pick if he goes into the draft this year. Reports say that based on this, he is leaning on entering. Smaller backs – like Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and Lewis’ Pitt predecessor LeSean McCoy – have all shown that smaller backs can succeed, but Lewis isn’t seeing clearly. With the type of back that he is, Lewis will have to assume different roles other than running. As a third down back, he will have to identify the Mike ‘backer and pick him up for pass protection, for example. I don’t seem him ready to do that yet. Should he stay or should he go? Stay.
Henry Hynoski – For those of us who follow Pitt football, we know that Hynoski is one the hearts-and-souls of this Pitt team; a true leader who will do whatever is asked. When he came to Pitt, he was excited to be a running back until he was told he will have to switch to fullback. In today’s game, a lot of players would be hard-headed and refuse to switch. But Hynoski simply said ‘whatever allows me to help this team, I’ll do it’. With a new regime coming in and a more than likely change in offensive style to a spread, Hynoski’s role will probably be decreased. That being said, we see the fullback becoming more and more obsolete in the pro game. Hynoski should not declare for the draft, and instead, stay one more year and accept any roll Pitt asks of him. This will allow him to play his Senior season and not have the embarrassment of not getting drafted at all. Owen Schmitt is making a difference in the NFL after staying his whole career at WVU. Hynoski should follow suit. Should he stay or should he go? Stay.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com