Miami's Parrish plans to skip senior season
Published: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 1:06 a.m.
MIAMI BEACH - Roscoe Parrish is ready to make more believers on football's biggest stage.
Parrish said Thursday that he'll skip his senior season at Miami and will enter the NFL Draft, the fourth Hurricanes player in the last two seasons to come out early. And he expects teams to be more impressed by his speed than his lack of size.
"When I hear things like that I'm too small, it just pushes me harder," said the 5-foot-9, 172-pound Parrish, a Miami native. "It's like a motivator to me."
Parrish, who said his best time in the 40-yard dash is in the 4.2- to 4.3-second range, made the decision after seeing where the NFL's Draft Advisory Council expected him to be slotted on draft day. He wouldn't reveal what sort of projected window the league provided, other than saying he expects to be a high selection.
Miami officials had no immediate comment.
Parrish was Miami's top receiver this season, catching 43 passes for 693 yards. He also averaged 16.2 yards on punt returns, running two back for touchdowns - including one in the Hurricanes' 27-10 Peach Bowl victory over Florida on Dec. 31, a game where he was selected the co-MVP.
"In a lot of ways, you're as good as your last game, and momentum's very important," said Drew Rosenhaus, the agent whom Parrish signed with Thursday. "I think teams put a lot of stock in how a player plays late in his career."
Said Parrish: "I was already leaning toward coming out, and when I had a good game like that, it kind of put the icing on the cake for me."
Parrish, the first player offered a scholarship by Larry Coker following his promotion to head coach four years ago, follows Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow and Vince Wilfork - all first-round picks in 2004 - among those recently leaving Miami early.
Another Miami player, running back Frank Gore, also is considering whether to forgo his senior year and make himself eligible for the draft. Gore must announce his decision by Jan. 15.
Linebacker Odell Thurman has joined safety Thomas Davis as juniors who will pass up their senior seasons to enter the 2005 NFL Draft, the Athens Banner-Herald reported Thursday.
The Atlanta-based STL Sports Management announced Thurman's decision Wednesday night.
In a statement released by the agency, Thurman said the economic pressures of caring for his family influenced his decision to turn pro. Thurman said he is responsible for five brothers who are being cared for by his grandmother.
"I have truly enjoyed my college experience at the University of Georgia and with the Georgia football program and wanted to fulfill a promise made to my parents that I would obtain my college degree," Thurman said in the statement. "However, given the economic realities of having to care for my siblings, I was left with no alternative."
Thurman, from Monticello, Ga., said he has one child and is expecting another. His father, Otis, died in 2003, and his mother, Joyce Bland, died in a car accident when Thurman was 11.
Thurman says he still plans to obtain his degree.
Davis signed with Atlanta-based agent Todd France earlier this week.
At least two more Georgia juniors - offensive guard Max Jean-Gilles and defensive tackle Gerald Anderson - are considering their NFL options and have until Jan. 15 to make a decision.
Running back Eddie Moss has resigned from the Air Force Academy after a cadet honor board found him guilty of cheating, coach Fisher DeBerry said.
Moss, of Englewood, Colo., was among six cadets found guilty of cheating in a behavioral sciences class in September, academy officials said. Four were later cleared by commandant Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, including basketball player Dan Nwaelele.
Academy spokesman Lt. Col. Larent Fox said the second cadet who was not cleared has resigned. Fox would not release the cadet's name.
The cases against the four cadets who were cleared did not establish sufficient proof they had cheated, Fox said.
DeBerry, reached on a recruiting trip in Houston on Wednesday, said he was disappointed Moss was no longer on the team.
Moss rushed for 81 yards on 10 carries in five games and scored touchdowns against Eastern Washington and Utah. He was suspended Oct. 9 but continued to practice while his case was investigated.
Defensive backs coach Tony Gibson saw Adam "Pac Man" Jones' potential at his first practice three years ago.
"He was doing things that were so different than anybody I've ever coached," Gibson said. "From that point on, I knew he was a special kind of kid."
Jones, the Big East special teams player of the year, announced Wednesday he plans to skip his senior year and enter this spring's NFL Draft.
"Yeah, you'd like to see him come back," said West Virginia assistant coach Steve Bird, who recruited Jones. "You wish you had the luxury that a lot of kids in the past have had and stayed their senior year. But what does he have to fall back on right now if he had a career-ending injury?"
Jones led the Mountaineers in tackles this season, had three interceptions and averaged 14.8 yards on punt returns and 23.2 yards on kickoffs.
He ranks second in school career kick return yardage with 1,475. At cornerback, he had 201 career tackles, eight interceptions and 24 pass breakups.
Jones, who wore a light-colored suit and a striped gold-and-blue tie, wept and paused several times to compose himself during his news conference.
"This is an extremely difficult decision, especially after the bowl game," he said. "But I am deciding to make this decision because I feel that I'm ready mentally and physically to begin my career in the NFL."
The one thing missing was a postseason win, and Jones admits he didn't have his best game Saturday in a 30-18 loss to Florida State in the Gator Bowl.
He received two personal foul penalties and fumbled a kickoff that Florida State recovered at the West Virginia 17, leading to a field goal.
"I really was hurt after the bowl game," Jones said. "I didn't have the game that I normally played. That's really what was hurting me about leaving because I don't feel I went out the same way I came in."
Despite that, Gibson said Jones is ready for the NFL.
"He's got a lot of different techniques he needs to work on, but his work ethic is never a problem," Gibson said. "He's going to go and do what it takes to be on the field. There's no way he can sit back and watch."
Jones previously discussed the move with his family and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez. Jones said preliminary paperwork returned to him on Monday grades him as a potential first-round draft pick.
"We will certainly miss Pac Man as a player and as a valued member of the Mountaineer football family, but I certainly understand his decision," Rodriguez, who was recruiting in New Jersey on Wednesday, said in a statement.
Jones, a native of College Park, Ga., was primarily a running back when he arrived at West Virginia.
In his second career start last year in a close loss at Miami, Jones made 12 tackles and an interception, forced a fumble and went jaw-to-jaw with tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
"That was probably my biggest moment," Jones said.
Jones said he's going with his mother and younger brother to Las Vegas on Thursday. He'll return to school to talk to his teammates on Jan. 10, then head to New Orleans to begin workouts.
"I'll just try to do whatever they tell me whatever I have to do to become one of the nation's great cornerbacks," Jones said. "I don't want to be an average player."
Jones is the second Mountaineer player to say he's leaving school for the draft. Wide receiver Chris Henry announced his intentions Saturday.
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