Unsolicited advice to Big 12 early entrants

December, 26, 2012
12/26/12
2:30
PM ET
Most of them have dodged it to this point, but it'll be decision time for a few underclassmen across the Big 12 at the end of the year.

Here's what each should do.

Stedman Bailey, wide receiver, West Virginia: Bailey has already announced he's leaving, and it's the right thing to do. He's undersized, so it's hard to see him climbing higher than the second or third round. Now's the time to leave. He's not going to equal his production next year without Geno Smith tossing perfect deep balls to him. Now's the time.

What he should do: Leave for the NFL.

Joseph Randle, running back, Oklahoma State: Like a couple guys on this list, there's no bad decision. I don't know that Randle runs much risk, besides injury, of losing much stock next season. He'll have an opportunity to go out on top next year, too. He's good enough to be drafted, but he's not a first-rounder. Will the possibility of another Big 12 title be enticing enough of a carrot to bring Randle back? It would be for me. Randle doesn't have the body type to be a bellcow back, but it's not like whoever OSU hires as an OC will suddenly start handing him the ball 30 times a game and put a ton of mileage on Randle's tires before he receives his first NFL check.

What he should do: Stay at Oklahoma State

Tony Jefferson, safety, Oklahoma: Jefferson's been a playmaker for three seasons for the Sooners. He was one of the league's best defenders this year, and he's got prototypical size for an NFL safety. Once NFL scouts see him up close at the combine, it's easy to see him ascending into the first round.

What he should do: Leave for the NFL

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: Gilbert has prototypical size for an NFL corner (6-foot, 194 pounds) and his speed will absolutely wow scouts at the combine. There's no doubt in my mind there's a first-round talent inside of him. However, the OSU CBs as a whole were one of the more disappointing units in the league. Gilbert's cover skills regressed at times this year and I don't think the game tape he strung together this year is what he wants his lasting image to be to scouts. With that game tape, it's hard to see him earning a first-round pick. His potential to do so in 2013 is there, though.

What he should do: Stay at Oklahoma State

Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive end, Texas: Jeffcoat had a disappointing season after tearing a pectoral, the same injury he had late last season. The Texas defense was disappointing, too. Next year the pieces will be in place for a big year for the Texas defense, and Jeffcoat could help key it. He could definitely play his way into the top five next year, but this year, it's hard to see any team spending that high of a pick on him coming off an injury.

What he should do: Stay at Texas.

Kenny Stills, wide receiver, Oklahoma: Stills was disappointed with his season, and it's a really, really deep class in this draft. You could defend either decision, but even with a new quarterback coming in, it's possible for Stills to improve his stock with another year of experience and a less stacked class. The Sooners could come back and win another league title, too.

What he should do: Stay at Oklahoma

James Sims, running back, Kansas: I totally understand if Sims is tired of losing, and he's got an NFL future. Perhaps a promising one. He's got the build to be a bellcow at the next level. Still, KU is getting closer and Sims could be a part of KU climbing back into Big 12 respectability. He's already said he plans on coming back to KU, and it's the right move.

What he should do: Stay at Kansas

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