Rutgers RB Jamison declares for draft

Rutgers leading rusher Jawan Jamison announced Saturday he would forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

Jamison was an All-Big East second-team selection after rushing for a team-best 1,075 yards in 2012. The redshirt sophomore averaged 4.2 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns this season. He also caught 28 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns.

“Jawan has been an exciting player for us during his career,” Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said in a statement. “He is a running back with tremendous vision, great balance and has the gift to make people miss in the open field. We wish Jawan well as he begins his journey to play in the NFL.”

Jamison joins cornerback Logan Ryan as early entrants into the NFL draft. While Ryan appears to be an early round selection, Jamsion has not been rated as highly among underclassmen backs among draft experts. But Jamison said on a teleconference Saturday that he received a third-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board, and that was a huge influence on his decision.

This is a relatively weak group of running backs, so that could help him, too.

"It actually surprised me," Jamison said of getting the third-round grade. "I thought it was going to be lower. When I got it, I was really excited. I feel like we made the best decision, and that's why I decided to declare."

An ankle injury slowed Jamison in the final month of the regular season and the bowl game. He did earn early comparisons to former Scarlet Knights back Ray Rice, but his productivity dipped once he got hurt. Still, Jamison was the third Rutgers player since 1976 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and the seventh player at Rutgers to record a 1,000-yard season.

Jamison said his ankle is still sore, and the injury did not really have an impact on his decision. He will work now to strength it as he prepares to improve his draft stock even further. As for what he can add to a team, Jamison said, "I just feel like I can do whatever my coaches want me to do, catch passes, run outside, pass block, too. I feel I can do it all."