SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tyler Sash and Marvin McNutt will check their NFL options, they said Sunday.
The two Hawkeyes have submitted their names to the NFL the NFL’s draft advisory committee for a gauge of where they would be selected in the 2011 draft if they opted to make themselves eligible.
It’s an “if” right now. Let’s be clear on that.
“As of right now before the game, I’d say I’m coming back, but I’m not 100 percent sure,” said Sash, an all-Big Ten strong safety who has 13 career interceptions going into Tuesday’s Insight Bowl. “As of right now, as of today, if I had to make a decision, I would be coming back. But I haven’t gotten the papers back and haven’t made a 100 percent decision.
“If things are right, I might leave. It’s a process.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz generally encourages players to do what’s best for them, but earlier this fall, he said like to see draft-eligible players stay for 2011.
“To me, my job is to make sure we get the information, accurate information, in front of the players, and then it’s up to them to figure out what it is they’re looking for, their families are looking for,” Ferentz said when this question came up last season.
Age could play a role in Sash’s decision. The junior will be 22 in May.
McNutt, a junior who leads Iowa with 51 catches for 798 yards with eight TDs, said he filed the evaluation papers, but didn’t talk about it any further. He has said on a couple occasions this season that he plans to return.
Two other Hawkeyes possibly on the NFL’s radar this offseason are offensive tackle Riley Reiff and cornerback Shaun Prater.
Reiff, a 6-6, 300-pounder, said he hasn’t filed for an NFL evaluation and hasn’t given it any thought.
“No, I’ll be back next year,” Reiff said.
Prater was a first-team all-Big Ten corner this season, tying for the Big Ten lead with four interceptions.
“Everyone keeps talking to me about pro, I’m just focusing on the game,” said Prater, who had 59 tackles this season. “I don’t know any of that stuff. I’m just focusing on the game.”
As many as four Missouri players have filed for an NFL draft evaluation, including quarterback Blaine Gabbert, tight end Michael Egnew and defensive ends Aldon Smith and Jacquies Smith.
The deadline for college players to declare for the draft is Jan. 15.
Last January, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga and cornerback Amari Spievey left Iowa with a year of eligibility remaining. Bulaga was taken in the first round; Spievey went in the third. Bulaga starts at right tackle for the Packers and Spievey is a starting safety.
In 2010, 53 college players filed for the draft with eligibility remaining and 46 of those players were selected. So, there are no guarantees.
“You’ve just got to keep moving forward,” Sash said. “Whatever my decision is, hopefully it’s the right one. To myself, it’ll be the right decision. Just got to keep moving forward and whatever is, it’ll be to become the best player I can be.”
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