Penn State Leads Schools That Will Miss Key Underclassman Departures

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9:32 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 9:32 AM UTC

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft passed on January 14. Some schools look worse off and should be avoided by futures bettors.

<p><strong>Penn State (+5000 at <a href=";book=BetOnline">BetOnline</a> to <a href="" target="_blank" title="2019-20 NCAAF Championship Winner Future Odds">win the 2020 National Championship</a>)</strong> is in store for another down year. Running back Miles Sanders decided to declare for the NFL draft. He had led the team with 1,274 rushing yards on 5.8 YPC and nine touchdowns. Against Michigan State's elite run defense, for example, he accrued 172 rushing yards on only 17 carries, (9.5 YPC) including a 78-yard touchdown run.</p><p>Sanders' decision to declare was interesting insofar as he could drop to the fifth round even though this is a weak year for running backs. But had Sanders decided to return to Penn State, he would have missed two offensive linemen who declared for the draft, tackle Ryan Bates and guard Connor McGovern. Both linemen were third-team All-Big Ten last season.</p><p>On defense, fellow third-teamer All-Big Ten defensive end Shareef Miller will go pro. After accruing 7.5 sacks, the team declared him co-MVP on defense. Furthermore, defensive tackle Kevin Givens decided to declare after achieving 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2018.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Iowa (+10000 at <a href=";book=BetOnline">BetOnline</a> to win 2020 National Championship)</strong> is another Big Ten team that will lose significant talent to the NFL. In 2018, Iowa's pass attack was largely built around its top tight ends. T.J. Hockenson led the team with 760 yards, was second with 49 receptions, and second with 15.5 yards per catch. With his frequent appearances on weekly highlight reels, the Mackey Award winner for top tight end will likely be drafted in the first two rounds.</p><p>Fellow tight end Noah Fant will also declare. Despite some quiet games, he was second behind Hockenson with 519 yards and third on the team in receptions and yards per catch. He led all Hawkeyes with seven receiving touchdowns.</p><p>On defense, Iowa loses safety Amani Hooker, who was the Big Ten's Defensive Back of the Year. Hooker was second on the team with 65 tackles and led Iowa both with seven pass break-ups and four interceptions. He also added 3.5 tackles for loss. Hooker was versatile in that he could also serve as a quality iinebacker when Iowa struggled to find players at that position. The Hawkeyes will also miss defensive end Anthony Nelson, who was second on the team with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He had been a three-year starter.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Georgia (+600 at <a href=";book=BetOnline">BetOnline</a> to win 2020 National Title)</strong> is a half-loser after the deadline because its offense will lose tremendous talent. Last year, the Bulldogs lost six players to the NFL Draft and all were seniors. This year, various underclassmen will hop ship.</p><p>The Bulldogs will miss their top three receivers in terms of receptions and yards. Riley Ridley had led the team with 44 receptions and 570 yards. Scouts love his burst of speed and sudden ability to change direction that went along with his size and extensive catch radius. Georgia will also miss fellow wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who was second on the team with 34 receptions, 532 yards, and seven touchdowns. Joining them will be tight end Isaac Nauta, who added 30 receptions for 430 yards. He was also effective in blocking for Georgia's running backs.</p><p>A large reason why Georgia's offense improved to 13th in scoring last season was the play of Jake Fromm (excepting the LSU debacle). But the quarterback could take a step back with his top receivers departed.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;iframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen&gt;&lt;/iframe&gt;"}[/]</p><p>Running back Elijah Holyfield declared for the NFL Draft. He was statistically right behind De'Andre Swift. Holyfield finished with over 1,000 yards rushing on 6.4 YPC and seven rushing touchdowns. He was known for his punishing running style plus his excellent vision and surprising burst of speed.</p><p> </p>
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