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With options limited at FSU, Lee declares for NFL draft
Florida State quarterback has officially declared for the NFL draft, the school confirmed Monday, all but ending his mercurial collegiate career.
By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published January 15, 2008
Florida State quarterback Xavier Lee has officially declared for the NFL draft, the school confirmed Monday, all but ending his mercurial collegiate career.
Underclassmen have until today to file paperwork with the league but can withdraw as late as Saturday and return to school. That assumes they don't sign with an agent first, and Lee hasn't, FSU officials said.
Lee's parents as well as FSU offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jimbo Fisher told the Times on Monday that they had no comment on Lee's situation. Lee could not be reached.
NFLDraftCountdown.com president Scott Wright said that Lee has "very little chance" of being selected. But the redshirt junior out of Daytona Beach Seabreeze had few attractive options.
Mired third or fourth on the depth chart by the end of the season, he was told that he would have to change positions next season, perhaps to tight end. With one year of eligibility remaining, he couldn't transfer to a Division I-A, Division I-AA, Division II or Division III program and play next fall. His only other collegiate choice, assuming he was academically eligible, would have been an NAIA school.
He didn't enroll in classes for the spring semester last week, a signal of his intent to leave, although school officials told him that he could complete some coursework in time to re-enroll in school before next season.
He was 1-2 as a starter in 2007, with error-plagued performances against Wake Forest and Miami that raised questions about his decisionmaking and poise. He was suspended for two games for missing too many classes and was left off the bowl travel list for unspecified reasons.
LAURINAITIS STAYS IN SCHOOL: Two-time All-America linebacker James Laurinaitis will stay at Ohio State for his senior year. Laurinaitis won the 2007 Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and the 2006 Nagurski Award as the top defensive player. He was projected as a high first-round pick. "There are a lot of things that money can't buy, and some of those things are the experiences of a senior season," he said.
McFADDEN, JONES LEAVE ARKANSAS: Razorbacks running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones will skip their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft. "I just want to go play in the NFL," McFadden said. "Whether I went No. 1 or dead last, it'll be the same feeling for me." McFadden rushed for more than 1,000 yards all three seasons at Arkansas. Jones did it the past two. They join Ray Rice, Mike Hart and Steve Slaton as draft competition for UCF running back Kevin Jones. In other Razorbacks news, Rivals.com reported that Ryan Mallett is taking classes at Arkansas, where he would be eligible to play in 2009, though his father says the former Michigan quarterback is still undecided about where to transfer.
MORE DRAFT DECLARATIONS: Michigan receiver Mario Manningham, projected as a first-round pick, confirmed he will skip his senior season. ... Two-time All-Big East safety Courtney Greene will return to Rutgers for his senior season. ... All-Big East cornerback Mike Mickens will return to Cincinnati for his senior season. ... All-ACC cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris will skip his senior season at Virginia Tech. Hokies quarterback Sean Glennon will return. ... Alabama center Antoine Caldwell will return for his senior season. ... Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Lofton, the team's leading tackler, will skip his senior season.
USF LOSES RECRUIT: Lake Gibson defensive end James Jones, one of USF's earliest oral commitments in July, backed out and committed this weekend to Florida International, his teammate Josh Garvin said. "Some of the coaches stopped keeping in contact with him," Garvin said. Jones, rated a two-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com, could not be reached. As recently as last week, Jones had reaffirmed his commitment to USF.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.