Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa among juniors given NFL draft eligibility

Published 1:34 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor were among 99 juniors granted eligibility by the NFL into the draft.

The NFL on Tuesday released the official list of 120 players who gave up college eligibility to enter the draft. Most, such as Tagovailoa, Young and Taylor, previously made their intentions public.

Players less than four years removed from high school who have not completed a degree need to be granted special entry to the draft by the NFL.

Among the 120 are 16 players with college eligibility remaining who notified the NFL they had completed degree requirements and were therefore eligible to be selected in the April 23-25 draft to be held in Las Vegas.

That group of 16 includes Clemson All-America linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Five more players with eligibility remaining inquired about draft status but did not need special entry, including Michigan linebacker Josh Uche.

The total of 120 players who left behind college eligibility to enter the draft is down from the record 132 last season. The 99 juniors granted early entry by the league is also down from 103 last year. A record 106 juniors entered the draft without completing degrees in 2018. That was the first year that number reached triple digits.

Since 2014, at least 95 underclassmen entered the draft without completing their degrees in every season but 2015, when the number was 74.

Defending national champion LSU had nine of the 120 players to leave behind college eligibility, the most of any school, including safety Grant Delpit, receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Alabama was next with six players. Receiver Jerry Jeudy and tackle Jedrick Wills were among the Crimson Tide players joining Tagovailoa.

Taylor was one of 20 running backs who decided to enter the draft with eligibility remaining, though three star runners notably returned to school.

Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Alabama’s Najee Harris and Oklahoma State’s Chub Hubbard, who led the nation in rushing last season, will be back in college 2020.