Underclassmen enter NFL in record numbers

Johnny Manziel (Joe Robbins/Getty)

The NFL draft is getting a record infusion of underclassmen talent, with more than 100 leaving school early to try to get in on the NFL action.

The NFL draft just got a lot deeper.

On Sunday, the NFL announced that a record 98 underclassmen declared for the 2014 NFL draft – a massive number that is 25 more than the 73 underclassmen who declared in 2013, and that doesn't include four that already graduated.

The list includes the three quarterbacks that are expected to likely go in the first five picks of the draft – Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles. It also includes a whopping 28 players from the SEC – seven from LSU, five from Alabama, four each from Florida and South Carolina, two each from Auburn, Missouri and Texas A&M and one each from Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

The underclassmen may include as many as seven of the top 10 picks in the draft, including Bortles, Bridgewater, DE Jadeveon Clowney, WR Mike Evans, Manziel, OT Greg Robinson and WR Sammy Watkins.

Here is the full alphabetical list of the 98 players who declared for the 2014 draft:

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State; Nick Addison, DB, Bethune-Cookman; Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech; George Atkinson, RB, Notre Dame.

Dion Bailey, S, USC; Odell Beckham, WR, LSU; Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State; Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State; Brendan Bigelow, RB, Cal; Alfred Blue, RB, LSU; Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina; Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida; Chris Boyd, WR, Vanderbilt; Carl Bradford, DE, Arizona State; Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson; Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville; Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson.

Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama; Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina; Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers; Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State; Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State; Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State.

Jonathan Dowling, S, Western Kentucky.

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri; Dominique Easley, DT, Florida; Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina; Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina; Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M.

Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU; Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford; Khairi Fortt, LB, Cal; Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State; Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State.

Carlos Gray, DT, North Carolina State; Xavier Grimble, TE, USC.

Terrance Hackney, T, Bethune-Cookman; Vic Hampton, CB, South Carolina; Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU; Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama.

Kameron Jackson, CB, Cal; Nic Jacobs, TE, McNeese State; Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State; Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU; Storm Johnson, RB, Central Florida; Henry Josey, RB, Missouri.

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama.

Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU; Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana; Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State; Marqise Lee, WR, USC; A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State; Albert Louis-Jean, DB, Boston College; Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon; Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M; Marcus Martin, C, USC; Tre Mason, RB, Auburn; Chris McCain, DE, Cal; Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon; Viliami Moala, DT, Cal; Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi; Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State; Jake Murphy, TE, Utah.

Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame; Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame.

Jeoffrey Pagan, DL, Alabama; Ronald Powell, LB, Florida; Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville; Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida.

Kelcy Quarles, DL, South Carolina.

Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB; Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford; Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee; Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado; Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida; Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State; Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn; Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State; Richard Rodgers, TE Cal.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington; Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington; Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State; Yawin Smallwood, LB, U-Conn; Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming; Jerome Smith, RB, Syracuse; Willie Snead, WR, Ball State; John Spooney, RB, Brown; Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State; Xavier Su'a-Filo, OL, UCLA; Vinnie Sunseri, DB, Alabama.

De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon; Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame; Trai Turner, OG, LSU.

George Uko, DL, USC.

Pierre Warren, FS, Jacksonville State; Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson; Terrance West, RB, Towson; James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State.

David Yankey, OL, Stanford.

Not all of the players who declared will end up getting drafted. On average about one-third of those who enter the draft early aren't selected. But for what already looked to be a relatively strong draft class, it got a record-setting infusion of underclassmen talent that could make it one of the strongest draft classes in recent years.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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