Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Suh's monster senior season model to stay
By ESPN.com staff
Ndamukong Suh has become a household name among college football fans this season.
Earlier this year, most wouldn't have known who he was -- much less know how to pronounce his name.
But Suh's incredible development in his senior season has provided a model for some players to remain in school for another year of seasoning.
The top players will likely always declare for the draft when they have their chance. It makes sense from an economic standpoint to begin playing in the NFL as soon as possible, where work can begin for the huge contracts as a free agent in their second NFL contract.
Factor in the threat of injuries and it's easy to see why most top players bid a hasty retreat from college football quickly after they make a name for themselves.
But Suh's performance this season shows that money can be earned and draft status bolstered by playing in college football for four seasons.
Suh was a raw talent who has thrived under the expert coaching of Bo Pelini and Carl Pelini to become the most dominant defensive player in his generation.
Whether he could have flourished in the NFL without his last two seasons working with the Pelinis is doubtful. Their teaching and his performance on the field in 2009 will help to make him a millionaire in April after the NFL draft is conducted.
That scenario probably wouldn't have happened if he had declared for the draft after last season, as he was thinking about at the time.
Some Big 12 players like Texas defensive back Earl Thomas, Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray and Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller are wavering whether they want to return to school next season.
Sure, the money would be outstanding for them in the NFL, but it's unlikely that any of them will first-round choices if they declare for the draft.
But if they came back to college and emerged like Suh did in his senior season, the really big money could be there after next season.