College Football Players Headline

61 Underclassmen Soft-Declare For 2012 NFL Draft

If three years have passed since a college football player’s high school class graduated, he is officially eligible to declare for the NFL Draft.  Typically, that rule provides redshirt Sophomores and true Juniors the opportunity to leave school early and test their luck with NFL teams.

Players who are interested in declaring for the NFL prior to the culmination of their Senior seasons must express their intent to enter the NFL Draft prior to January 15 of each calendar year.  Thereafter, those players who have soft-declared have a 3-day window (until January 18) to decide whether they will remain eligible to be selected in the forthcoming NFL Draft or remove their names from the pool.  Importantly, if an underclassman hires as agent, that player will forfeit his remaining eligibility to play college football whether or not the player withdraws his name from the NFL Draft pool.

Today being January 17, there is a large group of underclassmen who have soft-declared for the 2012 NFL Draft, and who have roughly 24 hours to change their minds.  There are currently 61 underclassmen who believe that they are prepared to make the jump to the NFL.  While players such as Justin Blackmon, Robert Griffin III, and Andrew Luck are sure to be very high picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, there are many players listed who may not be selected at all.  They have taken risks (hopefully calculated risks with the advice of knowledgeable and caring advisors) to forfeit their remaining eligibility in favor of the perceived riches waiting for them in the NFL.  Further, they have hopefully utilized the NFL’s College Advisory Committee, and submitted their information to get their current draft grades.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.