Bess to skip senior season, enter NFL draft

HONOLULU -- One of the University of Hawaii's star receivers will skip his senior season and enter the National Football League draft, the school said Friday.

Davone Bess, a three-year starter for the Warriors, is the school's all-time leader in receptions (293) and touchdowns (41).

The Oakland, Calif., native made the decision after draft evaluators said he would be likely to be picked in the second round if he entered this year.

"This is an opportunity I felt I couldn't pass up," Bess said. "It's been a dream of mine to play in the National Football League and I've worked hard these past three years to get to this point."

Bess was one of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan's favorite targets as the Warriors finished the regular season 12-0, the only undefeated team in major college football. Hawaii suffered its sole loss to Georgia in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.

Brennan, who elected not to enter the draft last year and to return to Hawaii for his senior year this season, graduated last month.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder was named to The Associated Press All-America third team and Walter Camp All-America second team as well as first-team all-Western Athletic Conference this season.

Bess came to the islands when Hawaii offered him a second chance.

The graduate of Skyline High School in Oakland, Calif., had been planning on enrolling at Oregon State on a football scholarship. Then, about one month after his high school graduation, Bess ran into trouble with the law when he allowed friends to put stolen property in his car.

After serving 15 months in a juvenile detention facility, Bess' high school coach contacted Keith Bhonapha, a Skyline alumnus and graduate assistant at Hawaii.

Bess eventually visited Warriors coach June Jones, who has taken other troubled athletes and made them thrive in his system.

Bess, in a statement released by the university, thanked Jones, his teammates and fans.

"I can't thank our fans enough for the support they showed during my career," Bess said.