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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Draft decision looms for Landry Jones

By Jake Trotter
SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- Every day, wideout Kenny Stills asks his quarterback the same question.

"You gonna stick around or what?"

Over the next month, Landry Jones has one major decision to make: bolt for the NFL, or stay at Oklahoma for his senior year. Jones said he's largely avoided worrying about that looming Jan. 15 deadline. But as the date creeps closer, Jones confessed it's begun to seep into his mind.

Landry Jones
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has a decision to make after the Insight Bowl.
"You start allowing yourself to go there a little bit more," he said. "But I've got plenty of time after the bowl game to sit down and think about what I want to do."

In his first interview since OU's 44-10 loss to Oklahoma State, Jones discussed his future at length after Tuesday's practice as the Sooners prepare for the Dec. 30 Insight Bowl against Iowa. Jones said he has submitted paperwork and film to the NFL draft underclassmen advisory committee for an evaluation. ESPN's draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both project Jones to go in the first round, but at the moment behind quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Robert Griffin III.

Jones, however, noted where he stacks up against other quarterbacks will not impact his decision to stay or go.

"I don't think you can make a decision based on whether your class is deep," he said. "In every draft, there's going to be guys. (But) there are a lot of different factors in what you want to do."

But Jones did go over the factors that will affect his decision, including an engagement to OU women's basketball guard Whitney Hand, who still has another year of eligibility remaining in Norman. The two are planning to get married next summer.

"That factors in. That will be our first year being married," Jones said. "It would be nice to stay here, but I'm sure Whitney is going to support me with whatever I want to do."

Jones added that the opportunity to end his OU career on a better note, possibly play for a national championship and perhaps make a run at individual honors like the Heisman Trophy are factors he'll consider into the decision, as well.

"You have to look at it from a realistic perspective, as far as you as a player and you as a team," Jones said. "You have to look at it like, 'Can we go win a national championship?' That's what's nice about this place is, year in and year out, you're always in the hunt or the mix of being able to go to that game. And as far as individual awards, if you want to win those, as far as just being an All-American, things along those lines, I think that might factor into a decision.

"But I think you have to be level-headed about it all and really decide, is it good for me to go or is it good for me to stay?"

By staying, Jones could pass Steve Davis as the winningest quarterback in OU history, and shatter every school passing record. Jones also seemed intrigued by the idea of finishing off the 11 credits he needs to graduate in multidisciplinary studies next semester, then enjoying his senior year with a light class load.

Jones could also wipe away the bitter taste of having lost two of his last three regular season games, including the debacle in Stillwater.

"You know, it was obviously a tough year," Jones said. "We had a lot of expectations, and I had a lot of expectations on myself."

Then again, Jones could move on to the next level and sign for millions in the NFL, which is loaded with teams in desperate need of a rookie franchise quarterback to build around.

"I think when the time for me to think about it and really know," Jones said, "I'll just kind of pray about it and have a good feeling about it and kind of know if I want to stay or I want to go."

Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation. He can be reached at trotterjake@gmail.com. and look for answers every Friday.

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