Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2007

Classmates Collins, Talib considering NFL Draft

December 15, 2007


Collins weighs NFL, education

For the Kansas football team, the immediate future holds an Orange Bowl date with Virginia Tech. But for a select group of Jayhawks, life beyond the BCS means having to choose between the NFL and staying in school. Enlarge video

Mangino expects this season to set foundation

If you take Anthony Collins and group him with his fellow All-American teammates Aqib Talib and James McClinton, the trio has combined to earn 55 different individual honors or awards this season. Enlarge video

2007 KU Football - Dec. 14 Press Conference

KU players discuss the upcoming Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech at Friday's press conference. Included are: Jake Sharp, Aqib Talib, John Larson, Chris Harris and Derek Fine. Enlarge video

Way back in January of 2004, two under-the-radar recruits named Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins met each other while on an official visit at Kansas University.

Four years later, they might just be leaving together, too.

Though the two are just juniors, Collins and Talib could get a nice payday if they skip their senior seasons and enter the NFL Draft. It's a major decision both are pondering.


"Whatever we go with, we came in together, we decided we're going to leave together," Collins said. "I don't know yet, and I'm supposed to get back to him and let him know what I'm feeling like."

Collins, an All-America offensive lineman, was upfront and honest about his NFL possibilities when talking to reporters Friday. Talib, an All-America cornerback, was more eager to put the chatter aside until after the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.

Both guys have a big decision on their hands before the Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to declare. With that in mind, it appears both are taking all the small steps to get there, rather than trying a big leap of faith next month.

Collins said he sent paperwork last week to the NFL advisory committee, which will in return give an educated guess as to where he may be taken in the NFL Draft if he were to come out.

"It can't be lower than second (round)," Collins said of the committee's estimate. "If it's lower than second, I'm coming back to school."

In addition, Collins said both he and Talib have adopted KU associate athletic director Chris Howard as a mentor for the whole process. Howard has experience with such situations while working at LSU and has some insight on professional sports thanks to his brother Ryan, a power-hitting first baseman for baseball's Philadelphia Phillies.

On top of that, Collins has talked to former KU players playing in the NFL, from David McMillan to Charles Gordon to Adrian Jones.

"They're telling me to keep my head in it, and whatever I go with to go with it 100 percent," Collins said. ": Know that the league is a business. It's a man's league. It's not like college."

Collins and Talib stepped right into the spotlight in 2007. Talib was a unanimous All-American after posting 61 tackles, four interceptions and 13 pass breakups for the 11-1 Jayhawks.

At 6-foot-2, he has the size that will make him a prototypical NFL cornerback when he's ready to make the jump.

But he insists that any decision - or serious talk of a decision - won't start until after the Orange Bowl.

"I'm trying to block it out and not really worry about it right now," Talib said. "After the game, after the season, me and coach will talk about it, me and my family will talk about it and then we'll make a decision from there."

Collins, a 6-6, 315-pound left tackle, said he's already talked with KU coach Mark Mangino about his situation. Collins said Mangino gave his blessing to make whatever decision was best.

Mangino, meanwhile, said KU's current recruiting strategy is bracing for possible early defections.

"We're not sitting around and acting shocked over those things," Mangino said. "We have plans in place for anything that may happen."

Expect two decisions to be made in early January regarding Collins, Talib and the NFL. And if any promise made back in 2004 holds up, it's possible that the choice could be the same.

One way or the other.

"We always made a bond that said that if we come together, which we did : we always would leave together," Collins said. "Now, back when we were freshmen, we were just talking.

"It's dealing with a lot of money right now. I don't know. It's a hard decision."


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