LSU quarterback Russell to forgo his senior season


LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, left, smiles during a news conference Wednesday with coach Les Miles about his intention to enter the 2007 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell said Wednesday he'll skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Facts

Coaching changes

· Air Force — Fisher DeBerry, retired (Dec. 15); Troy Calhoun (Dec. 22).

· Alabama — Mike Shula, fired (Nov. 27); Joe Kines, interim; Nick Saban (Jan. 3).

· Alabama-Birmingham — Watson Brown, resigned (Dec. 9); Neil Callaway (Dec. 17).

· Arizona State — Dirk Koetter, fired (Nov. 26), Dennis Erickson (Dec. 11).

· Boston College — Tom O'Brien, to N.C. State (Dec. 8); Frank Spaziani, interim; Jeff Jagodzinski (Dec. 19).

· Central Michigan — Brian Kelly, to Cincinnati (Dec. 3); Jeff Quinn, interim.

· Cincinnati — Mark Dantonio, to Michigan State (Nov. 27); Pat Narduzzi, interim; Brian Kelly (Dec. 3).

· Florida International — Don Strock, resigned (Nov. 15); Mario Cristobal (Dec. 19).

· Idaho — Dennis Erickson, to Arizona State (Dec. 11); Robb Akey (Dec. 20).

· Iowa State — Dan McCarney, resigned (Nov. 8); Gene Chizik (Nov. 27).

· Louisiana Tech — Jack Bicknell, fired (Dec. 4); Derek Dooley (Dec. 18).

· Louisville — Bobby Petrino, resigned (Jan. 7); Steve Kragthorpe (Jan. 9).

· Miami — Larry Coker, fired (Nov. 24); Randy Shannon (Dec. 8).

· Michigan State — John L. Smith, fired (Nov. 1); Mark Dantonio (Nov. 27).

· Minnesota — Glen Mason, fired (Dec. 31); TBA.

· North Carolina — John Bunting, fired (Oct. 22); Butch Davis (Nov. 13).

· North Carolina State — Chuck Amato, fired (Nov. 26); Tom O'Brien (Dec. 8).

· North Texas — Darrell Dickey, fired (Nov. 8); Todd Dodge (Dec. 12).

· Stanford — Walt Harris, fired (Dec. 4); Jim Harbaugh (Dec. 18).

· Tulane — Chris Scelfo, fired (Nov. 28); Bob Toledo (Dec. 11).

· Tulsa — Steve Kragthorpe to Louisville (Jan. 9); TBA.

"It kind of hit me toward the end of the season that I was going to make that jump," Russell said at a news conference.

After a standout performance in the Sugar Bowl last week, the 6-foot-6, 257-pound Russell had been expected to declare early for the draft.

Russell, a native of Mobile, Ala., threw for 6,525 yards and 52 touchdowns in three seasons with LSU, two as a full-time starter. He threw for 332 yards and two TDs in the Sugar Bowl to help the Tigers (11-2) beat Notre Dame 41-14.

Had he stayed, Russell would have been considered a strong Heisman Trophy contender. He also would have been under the oversight of a new offensive coordinator after Jimbo Fisher accepted Florida State's coordinator job.

"We gave him every bit of information that might allow him to choose — either go or stay," coach Les Miles said.

He said he thought Russell and his family made a good decision and predicted Russell could go as high as No. 1 in the draft.

Russell, who brought his family to the news conference, said he hadn't yet signed with an agent. When asked what his draft preference was, Russell replied, "Whoever picks first and whoever pays the most."

His departure starts a two-man competition to replace him between Matt Flynn, who will be a senior next season, and Ryan Perrilloux, who will be a sophomore. Miles said Flynn had the edge for the job, but he wouldn't decide until after spring practice.

SOUTHERN CAL

Dwayne Jarrett, the leading receiver in school history, announced Wednesday he will skip his senior season at Southern California to enter the NFL Draft.

"The biggest thing was the challenge. I'm ready to compete on the next level," Jarrett said at a campus news conference, choking up as he talked about leaving.

When he began to sob quietly, his mother, Camille, stepped to the podium and hugged him.

"My teammates, without them I couldn't have done any of this," he said.

Jarrett, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder from New Brunswick, N.J., ends his college career with 216 catches for 3,138 yards and a Pac-10-record 41 touchdowns in 38 games.

The lanky, sure-handed wide receiver capped his impressive three years at USC by making 11 receptions for 205 yards and two TDs in a 32-18 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

KENTUCKY

Running back Rafael Little will return to Kentucky for his senior season rather than enter the National Football League Draft, the school announced Wednesday.

Little, who led the Wildcats with 619 rushing yards, was one of two prominent offensive players mulling leaving school early to try for a spot in the NFL. The other, wide receiver Keenan Burton, has until Monday to declare his intentions.

"I have a lot of things to improve on," Little said in a written statement. "I enjoy all our coaches and my teammates. I've had a great time at UK and I'm excited about the (upcoming) season. And, it will help me get my degree."

CLEMSON

Cornerback C.J. Gaddis will pass up his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. Gaddis started 11 of 13 games this season, finishing with 33 tackles and two interceptions.

PITT

Cornerback Darrelle Revis, an all-Big East player the last two seasons, will pass up his senior year to enter the NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 200-pound Revis, nephew of former NFL lineman Sean Gilbert, is the only Pitt cornerback chosen first team all-conference in successive seasons since Hank Poteat in 1998-99.

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