2015 NFL Draft: Tracking the early-entry draft class
In each of the last two years, underclassmen have set record highs for entering the NFL draft. A total of 98 underclassmen left school early for the draft in 2014, besting the mark of 73 set in 2013. As bowl season winds down, the flow of early-entrant announcements should quicken.
College candidates have until Jan. 15 to file papers with the NFL declaring their intention to enter the 2015 NFL draft. The official list of underclassmen will be released by the league office on Jan. 19.
Until the NFL releases its official list, FOX Sports South will keep you updated on announcements.
Thus far, 74 underclassmen have declared themselves eligible for the 2015 NFL draft (UPDATED — Jan. 15 , 12:05 p.m. ET):
Nelson Agholor, WR — USC
Agholor finished seventh in the nation with 106 catches for the Trojans in 2014, seventh in touchdowns (12) and ninth in receiving yards (1,313). He’s a tall, speedy receiver that should go somewhere in Day 2.
Jay Ajayi, RB — Boise State
Ajayi, a redshirt junior, rushed for 134 yards and three scores in the Fiesta Bowl, and finished the 2014 campaign with 1,823 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. He is considered a potential Day 2 pick in the draft.
Kwon Alexander, OLB — LSU
Alexander finished the 2014 season with 81 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. He could land with a team as early as Day 2 of the draft.
Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB — USC
Allen finished third in the Pac-12 with 1,489 rushing yards, and scored 11 touchdowns. He also showed decent hands with 41 receptions for 458 yards. He enters an already packed running back class, but has the versatility to be a Day 2 selection.
Arik Armstead, DE — Oregon
Armstead posted 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 13 games last season. He’s explosive and has some massive upside. He should be a Day 2 selection with the potential to move into the first round if he impresses during pre-draft workouts.
Deion Barnes, DE — Penn State
Barnes matched his freshman total of six sacks during his junior season, after posting just two during his sophomore season. He’s likely a Day 3 pass-rusher.
Malcom Brown, DT — Texas
Brown led Texas with 15 tackles for loss and six sacks, and has NFL size, speed and athleticism. He’s projected to easily be a Day 2 pick, but could easily work his way into the first round by draft day.
Alex Carter, CB — Stanford
Carter will use the success from his junior season and enter the draft. He is projected as a Day 2 prospect that could shoot up draft boards with a good Pro Day and combine.
Sammie Coates, WR — Auburn
Coates makes an already talented wide receiver class even better. He could go anywhere from the late first round to the second. Coates led the SEC and was fourth in the nation with a 21.8 yards per catch average.
Tevin Coleman, RB — Indiana
Coleman was one of two running backs in the nation that eclipsed 2,000 yards on the ground in 2014. He could as early as the second round, and will stands right now to be somewhere between the third to fifth running back selected.
Jalen Collins, CB — LSU
Collins, at 6-foot-2, has fantastic size for the direction the NFL is taking toward tall receivers and defensive backs. He’s a speedy corner with three career interceptions. Collins should be a Day 2 pick that goes late in the second round or early in the third.
Landon Collins, S — Alabama
Collins can play both safety positions, but is an absolute terror in, or close to the box when stopping the run. He’s an easy first-round selection, and could end up going in the top 10.
Amari Cooper, WR — Alabama
Cooper led the nation with 124 receptions in 2014 and finished second with 1,727 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s an intelligent route runner and gets off the line of scrimmage quickly. He’s a first-round pick (likely top 10) for sure.
Xavier Cooper, DE — Washington State
Cooper led the Huskies last season with five sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, but will probably be a Day 3 draftee. He could really benefit from a fantastic showing during pre-draft workouts.
Christian Covington, DT — Rice
Covington had season-ending knee surgery in November, and might not be able to participate in pre-draft workouts. If not, he’ll bank off his first two season’s worth of work. During those two years — and combined with his limited, pre-injury work in 2014 — he had 12.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss.
Mike Davis, RB — South Carolina
Davis didn’t quite make it back to the 1,000-yard mark, missing it by 18 yards. He’s a powerful back with good acceleration, that projects as a late second- to early third-round pick.
Stefon Diggs, WR — Maryland
Diggs finished fourth in the Big Ten with 62 receptions in 2014, but is leaving Maryland early with only 150 catches and 2,227 receiving yards in three seasons. He’s going to have to impress some team in pre-draft workouts to land anywhere before Day 3.
Lorenzo Doss, CB — Tulane
Doss will forego his senior season after picking off 14 passes in his three seasons with Tulane. He’s likely a Day 2 draftee, whose stock could rise or fall dramatically after his pre-draft workouts.
Lemar Durant, WR — Simon Fraser
Durant missed three games this season but still caught 55 passes and four touchdowns. He has the size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and strength to impress prior to the draft, but has durability issues.
Durell Eskridge, FS — Syracuse
Eskridge tallied 146 tackles and five interceptions over his last two seasons at Syracuse. His 6-foot-3-inch, 203-pound frame could help him on draft day, but he’s going to have to post some eye-opening workouts prior to the draft to rise out of Day 3 status.
George Farmer, WR — USC
The speedy Farmer had just 25 receptions this season, but has a 6-foot-1-inch, 220-pound frame that could look good to NFL GM’s.
Ereck Flowers, OT — Miami
Flowers has been steadily climbing draft boards over the last month, and could wind up in the first round by the time the draft rolls around.
Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB — Florida
Fowler is an extremely versatile pass-rusher that can attack the quarterback from a number of spots on the field. He should be a Day 1 pick and one of the top four pass-rushers taken.
Devin Funchess, WR/TE — Michigan
Funchess is incredibly athletic and light on his feet. At 6-foot-5, he’s going to cause some mismatch opportunities in the NFL. He’s a solid first- round prospect.
Jacoby Glenn, CB — UCF
Glenn led the American Athletic Conference with seven interceptions in 2014. He’s a Day 2 prospect, but the All-American Second-Teamer could shoot up draft boards prior to the end of April.
Eddie Goldman, DT — Florida State
At 320 pounds, Goldman requires special attention from offensive linemen. He’s disruptive in the backfield and should be a first-round selection late on Day 1.
Melvin Gordon, RB — Wisconsin
After leading the nation in rushing (2,587) and all-purpose yards (2,740), Gordon will leave school early. No one is sure if a running back will go in the first round, but Gordon has the best shot.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR — Oklahoma
Green-Beckham is definitely one of the top three most talented wide receivers in the draft, maybe the best. But he has red flags that will most assuredly cost him draft slots. Which NFL team will take a high-risk/high- reward chance Green-Beckham. That will determine if he gets selected in the first round or not.
Deontay Greenberry, WR — Houston
Greenberry had a better 2013 season than 2014, but he showed flashes of brilliance last year; in particular his fourth-quarter performance in the Armed Services Bowl on Jan. 2. He will likely be selected on Day 2 of the draft.
Randy Gregory, DE — Nebraska
Gregory should be a top 10 pick in the draft and can play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. He notched 16.5 sacks over his last two seasons at Nebraska.
Todd Gurley, RB — Georgia
Had Gurley not been injured in the Auburn game, he would have undoubtedly been a first-round pick and the top running back on the board. He still has incredible upside in the NFL, but how early will team take a shot with the injury concerns?
Chris Hackett, S — TCU
Hackett led the Big 12 with seven interceptions in 2014, and enters a safety class that is somewhat devoid of big-named talent. If he performs well in pre-draft workouts, he should be a late Day 2 pick.
Eli Harold, DE — Virginia
Projections are all over the place for the speedy, edge rusher from Virginia. Harold posted seven sacks in 2014 and has 15.5 over his last two seasons. Whether he goes on Day 1 or 2, the combine will go a long way toward determining that.
Chris Harper, WR — California
Harper caught 52 passes last season for 634 yards and six touchdowns, and will finish his three-year career at Cal with 162 receptions, 2,018 yards and 13 touchdown grabs.
Dee Hart, RB — Colorado State
Hart finished the season with 1,275 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, good for fourth and third, respectively in the Mountain West Conference. He’s another member of a very deep running back class. Hart could go on Day 3 of the draft.
Braylon Heard, RB — Kentucky
Heard averaged 5.04 yards per carry for the Wildcats in 2014 as he rushed for 368 yards and scored four touchdowns. He’s leaving a year of eligibility on the table because he was getting passed on the depth chart. He’s a Day 3 prospect at best.
Gerod Holliman, S — Louisville
Holliman led the nation with 14 interceptions and has a knack for always being around the football. He’s likely going to be the first safety taken in the draft.
D.J. Humphries, OT — Florida
Humphries came into his college career with absurd hype (he was a five- star recruit from North Carolina), but never quite lived up to it. Injuries played a huge role in his limited action, and now Humphries is going to have to do a bang-up job convincing NFL teams he’s ready to realize his potential.
Brett Hundley, QB — UCLA
There are only two sure-fire, first-round quarterbacks in this year’s draft. Hundley should be the third passer taken. Right now it looks as if he’ll be a Day 2 selection. it will be interesting to see if he somehow pushes his way into the back end of the first round.
Danielle Hunter, DE/OLB — LSU
Hunter had 13 tackles for loss in 2014, but only 1.5 sacks. He’ll have to show NFL teams that he’s more than just a run-stopper that can occasionally rush the passer. He’s got good size and upside, and should be drafted on Day 2.
Jesse James, TE — Penn State
What do you do if you’re a 6-foot-7 underclassman that caught 38 passes last season, scored three touchdowns and can run a sub-4.8 40-yard dash? You declare your eligibility for the draft and watch NFL teams drool.
Duke Johnson, RB — Miami
Johnson exploded for 1,652 rushing yards this season, but over three years averaged 6.7 yards per carry. That kind of success over his entire college career should entice NFL teams to take him in the second round.
Matt Jones, RB — Florida
Jones had 1,431 rushing yards, which would have been good if that was his one-year total. But it took him three seasons to accumulate that figure, and it should take until Day 3, if at all, for him to be drafted.
Nigel King, WR — Kansas
King caught 30 passes last season for 537 yards and a touchdown. His numbers don’t predict great draft stock, but if he tears up the pre-draft process, his 6-foot-3-inch frame will become somewhat appealing for many teams. King is projected to be drafted on Day 3, if at all.
Tyler Kroft, TE — Rutgers
Kroft’s production dropped from 2013 to 2014, which likely will push his draft status down to Day 3. He caught 24 passes and didn’t score this season, after grabbing four touchdown passes a year prior.
Marcus Mariota, QB — Oregon
Mariota won the Heisman Trophy in 2014, and has had an incredible run at Oregon. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is something to drool over, and in the right system, his talents could truly be special. He’ll be a first-round pick, and might be the top overall selection.
Ellis McCarthy, DL — UCLA
McCarthy posted three tackles for loss and three sacks last season for the Bruins. He’s physically gifted and can play both inside at nose tackle and on the outside at the end position. He’s likely a Day 3 selection.
Benardrick McKinney, ILB — Mississippi State
McKinney logged 71 tackles in 2014 and got three sacks, eight tackles for loss and four passes defensed. He’s a sure tackler that can fight through traffic, and should be taken in the middle to back portion of the first round.
Patrick Miller, OT — Auburn
Miller coming out of school early is a bit of a surprise, as he’s never been a full-time starter for the Tigers. He has a lot of pre-draft work to do.
Tyler Moore, G — Florida
Moore has experience at both tackle and guard in college, but looks much more comfortable at the guard spot.
Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT — Southern Miss
Nunez-Roches finished his third season at Southern Miss with 14 tackles for loss and three sacks. He has some upside, but is likely a Day 3 selection.
Andrus Peat, OT — Stanford
Peat heavily weighed his decision to leave early, but ultimately the allure of being a first-round selection — potentially a very high first- round pick — was too much to pass up.
Breshad Perriman, WR — UCF
Perriman was one of four American Athletic Conference receivers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. He joined the club with 1,044 yards on 50 catches, finishing second in the league (sixth in the country) at 20.9 yards per reception. His ability to stretch the field should slot him somewhere in the third round of the draft.
Marcus Peters, CB — Washington
While Peters might be the best cover corner in the draft, he has some character red flags that may affect his draft status. His talent requires a first-round look. But he may end up as a Day 2 guy.
Jordan Phillips, DT — Oklahoma
There’s a chance that Phillips could work his way into the later portion of the first round. He had 38 tackles this season with seven tackles for loss and two sacks. If he doesn’t go on Day 1, he’ll be a solid Day 2 pick.
Bradley Pinion, P — Clemson
Pinion averaged 42.6 yards per punt in 2014.
Jeremiah Poutasi, OT — Utah
Poutasi has played both guard and tackle at Utah, and both the left and right side at tackle in 2014. He’s a bit of a project with enormous upside.
Shane Ray, DE/OLB — Missouri
With 13 sacks, Ray led the SEC in pulling quarterbacks to the ground. He was also top dog with 22.5 tackles for loss. Ray should be a top 10 pick.
Josh Robinson, RB — Mississippi State
It seems as if Robinson is going to try and bank off of his 1,203-yard junior season at Mississippi State and go pro. He adds to a running back class that’s deep with talent, and might not go until Day 3.
Shaq Roland, WR — South Carolina
Roland caught 56 passes for 891 yards and 10 touchdowns in his three years at South Carolina, combined. He has red flags galore including leaving his team prior to season’s end and dropping out of school. If he gets drafted, it will be on Day 3.
James Sample, S — Louisville
Sample was tied for second in the ACC with four interceptions in 2014. He also led Louisville with 90 tackles and has the size (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) to move up on draft boards with good pre-draft workouts. He’s likely a late Day 2 to early Day 3 selection.
Jean Sifrin, TE — Massachusetts
Sifrin caught 41 passes for 637 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. He’s a physical specimen at 6-foot-7, but at 27 years of age, will teams shy away?
Donovan Smith, OT — Penn State
Smith projects as a Day 3 pick and may make his presence felt in the NFL as a guard instead of a tackle.
Noah Spence, DE — Ohio State
Whether in high school or during his time at Ohio State, Spence has always been considered a gifted pass-rush specialist. But a suspension for a failed drug test followed by another reported failed test have surrounded his draft stock in a cloud of uncertainty.
Jaelen Strong, WR — Arizona State
Strong backed up an 1,122-yard sophomore season with seven touchdowns with an 1,165-yard junior campaign with 10 touchdown grabs. Strong should go in the first round, as early as the middle picks.
Shaq Thompson, OLB — Washington
Thompson does everything extremely well, as evident from his 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles in 2014. He’s good in coverage and has a blue-light pursuit mode. He’ll be a first-rounder.
Max Valles, OLB — Virginia
Valles led Virginia with nine sacks and finished seventh in the ACC with 12.5 tackles for loss. He’s got some sneaky upside, and should land somewhere on Day 2 of the draft.
Trae Waynes, CB — Michigan State
Waynes picked off three passes in 2014 and has an enviable 6-foot-1-inch frame that aids him in shutting down his side of the football field. Waynes could be the first corner selected in the draft.
Leonard Williams, DL — USC
If not for two quarterback-needy teams at the top of the draft, it would be easy to project Williams as the first overall pick. He’s an extremely athletic player with the versatility to play anywhere on the defensive line.
Maxx Williams, TE — Minnesota
Williams gave up two years of eligibility to enter the draft. He caught 36 passes for 569 yards and hauled in eight touchdowns in 2014. He’s an extremely athletic tight end who should wreak havoc in the middle of the field in the NFL.
P.J. Williams, CB — Florida State
Williams is good in coverage and a fantastic tackler. He could use some work to upgrade his ballhawking skills, but he’ll likely be a first-round selection or an early Day 2 pick.
Trey Williams, RB — Texas A&M
Williams didn’t post a 100-yard game during his junior season, but still decided to enter a running-back rich draft class. He’s explosive, but likely headed for a Day 3 selection spot.
Jameis Winston, QB — Florida State
Winston received a first-round grade from the NFL review board and might even be the first overall pick in the draft to Tampa Bay. There is some concern with his off-the-field issues, which he’ll need to address in the pre-draft process.
T.J. Yeldon, RB — Alabama
Yeldon missed his third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season by 21 yards, but won’t be coming back to Alabama to try again. He rushed for 3,322 yards in three seasons and scored 37 rushing touchdowns. He’s likely a Day 2 pick.