UCLA’s Drew off to the NFL

first_img Drew confirmed Friday that he won’t return to UCLA. “Yeah, you can say that,” Drew said. “I’ll make that announcement (today) but yeah, you can say that.” Drew’s durability has been an issue the last two years. Drew suffered a bruised right knee against Stanford, which forced him to miss some of the Arizona game. Last year, he sprained his ankle and missed the better part of three games. If Drew is viewed as a Sproles-type player, he stands to make about $2 million. Sproles was a fourth-round draft pick and earned a $396,000 signing bonus. He signed a four-year deal worth 230,000 the first year and 460,000 in 2008. Sproles returned 59 kickoffs for an average of 24.4 yards per return. Drew exhibited no signs of turning pro until after the Sun Bowl. Drew left that game in the first quarter with a separated left shoulder. He returned for a couple of plays in the second quarter but was a non-factor. Television cameras showed him trying to run back onto the field at one point but Dorrell grabbed him and pulled him back. Drew didn’t look happy. Drew’s roommate, defensive end Kyle Morgan, will attend today’s press conference. Morgan is from the Bay Area, too. Drew’s mom, Andrea, confirmed Drew is leaving and that he’ll explain his reasons why today. “He just made the decision,” Andrea Drew said. “He’ll say why and what played a part in it (today).” Andrea Drew said she filed paperwork earlier to have Drew’s draft status evaluated. If Drew doesn’t sign an agent, he can return to UCLA for his final season of eligibility. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL draft. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson UCLA coach Karl Dorrell isn’t expected to comment until after today’s press conference. Drew’s departure is a huge blow to the Bruins, who finished 10-2 and beat Northwestern in the Sun Bowl. Drew led the country in punt returns, averaging an NCAA-record 28.5 yards. He had three punt returns for touchdowns this season and four in his career, along with two kickoff returns for scores. He rushed for 914 yards on 186 carries (4.9 yards-per-carry average), scored 13 touchdowns this season and had 2,503 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns in his UCLA career. Drew’s pro career could mimic that of Darren Sproles, who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers last year out of Kansas State. Sproles is a speedy punt returner but not an every down running back. Sproles had eight carries this season. It’s likely that Drew’s gig in the NFL will be as a punt and kickoff returner. Drew is probably considered too small (5-foot-8, 205 pounds) to be an every down back but he’s bigger than Sproles (5-6, 181). This was an unexpected move, since Drew, 21, maintained most of the year that he would return for his senior season. As late as Nov. 26, he told the Press-Telegram: “I don’t understand why people keep asking. I don’t want people to think football is my whole life. That’s one thing I don’t want it to be. If it happens, it happens. If not, I’ll get a degree and go about my day and try to work at a big-time business and try to get to the top of it.” center_img Maurice Drew wasn’t the Los Angeles running back everyone figured was a shoo-in to leave college a year early for the NFL draft. But that’s exactly what Drew will do. Drew, UCLA’s junior tailback and All-American punt returner, will announce his decision to skip his senior season and enter the draft at a 2 p.m. press conference today at Concord De La Salle High School, where he prepped in Northern California. last_img read more