The Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to decide if they want to return to college or declare for the 2018 NFL draft is fast approaching. With bowl season in the rear-view mirror and only the College Football Playoff title game remaining for the 2017 season, decisions from prominent players will be coming out left and right in the coming days.
This year, we’ll have a post every day — updated throughout the day — with the players who decide to pursue professional football.
Arden Key, DE/LB, LSU
As expected, LSU’s star pass rusher is moving on to the NFL. Key, hampered by various injuries before and during the season, played in eight games in 2017, totaling 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. As a sophomore, Key set an LSU record with 12 sacks. He finishes his Tigers career with 130 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 21 sacks. He is a projected first-round pick.
Orlando Brown, OL, Oklahoma
Brown, another projected first-rounder, has been one of the best linemen in the country during his three seasons as Oklahoma’s starting left tackle. Brown started 40 consecutive games for the Sooners, was a first-team All-American in 2017 and the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2016. The 6-foot-8, 345-pounder is the son of the late Orlando Brown, who played 11 seasons for the Browns and Ravens.
After talking things over with my family and coaches, I will be declaring early for the NFL Draft. It’s been an amazing 4 years here. I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other university. Thank you Sooner Nation!!! ⭕️
— Orlando Brown (Zeus) (@ZEUS__78) January 3, 2018
Dorance Armstrong, DL, Kansas
Armstrong was a consistent bright spot for Kansas, a program with three wins combined during his time with the program. During his time with the Jayhawks, the 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive end combined for 142 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.
Million dollar play, Now watch me execute it! pic.twitter.com/vkuuIpj62v
— Dorance‼️ (@Dorance_ALegend) January 4, 2018
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield’s favorite 2017 target will join him in the NFL. Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews, who led the Sooners with 62 receptions this season, won’t return for his senior season. The 6-foot-5, 254-pound Andrews completes his OU career with 112 catches for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
The 6-foot-5, 203-pound St. Brown led the Fighting Irish in receiving the past two seasons. His best statistical output came in 2016, when he caught 58 passes for 961 yards and nine touchdowns. Overall, St. Brown totaled 92 catches for 1,484 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Josh Sweat, DL, Florida State
Sweat, a five-star recruit in the 2015 class, dealt with a variety of injuries throughout his FSU career, but was able to put up solid numbers for the Seminoles. He combined for 138 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks over three seasons. His 5.5 sacks were tops on the team in 2017.
Josh Sweat is officially entering the 2018 @NFL Draft.
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) January 4, 2018
Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford
Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection this season when he registered 92 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Phillips totaled 147 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks at Stanford.
Thank you indefinitely to everyone involved along the way. This is my DREAM! I cannot express my excitement right now. I'm declaring for the 2018 NFL draft! pic.twitter.com/UsnLy08bwf
— Harrison Phillips (@horribleharry66) January 4, 2018
Geron Christian, OL, Louisville
Christian, a three-year starter, started 39 straight games for the Cardinals at tackle. He is the second Louisville underclassman to declare for the draft, joining DB Jaire Alexander. He will probably be the second of three, with QB Lamar Jackson expected to make the leap to the NFL as well.
Lasley led UCLA with 69 catches for 1,264 yards this season and was second on the team nine touchdown receptions. In his three years with the Bruins, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Lasley totaled 113 catches for 1,901 yards and 14 touchdowns. He is the third UCLA player to declare, joining QB Josh Rosen and OL Kolton Miller.
Settle, a 6-foot-3, 335-pound defensive tackle, had two years of eligibility left, but opted to leave Virginia Tech. He combined for 53 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and four sacks over the last two seasons. He was a second-team All-ACC selection this season.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Jones started 25 games over the last three years at Arizona State, including all 13 games at left guard this season. Jones also started games at left and right tackle throughout his college career.
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