Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) reacts as he walks off the field after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State QB Justin Fields declares for NFL draft

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Monday, a move that was expected.

Fields is projected to be one of the first two quarterbacks taken on Day 1 of the draft, scheduled for April 29 in Cleveland.

“Growing up, my dream was to one day play the game that I love at the highest level,” Fields wrote in a lengthy post on Twitter. “… I am in a position to turn that dream into reality. And for that reason, I am foregoing my senior year and declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.”

Fields finishes his career with 5,701 yards passing and 67 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He also rushed for 1,133 yards and 19 touchdowns in 34 games with the Buckeyes and Georgia Bulldogs (2018).

Fields led Ohio State to the CFP playoffs in his two years at OSU. The Buckeyes lost to the Clemson Tigers in the semifinals in 2019 and lost to Alabama in the title game in 2020.

Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019, compiling one of the greatest statistical seasons in Ohio State history. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards while accounting for 51 touchdowns (41 passing, 10 rushing). He became the first quarterback in Big Ten history with 40 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in the same season.

Fields was named the Big Ten offensive player of the year for 2019 and 2020.

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon declared for the draft on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes running back Trey Sermon (8) scores a rushing touchdown against Clemson Tigers defense in the first quarter during the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State RB Trey Sermon declares for NFL draft

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Sunday.

“I am truly excited for the opportunity to pursue my dreams at the next level,” he posted on social media. “I know the best is yet to come for me!”

Sermon rushed for a Big Ten title-game record 331 yards in a Dec. 19 win against Northwestern and ran for 193 yards in a victory against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Day in the Sugar Bowl.

In Monday’s national championship game against No. 1 Alabama, Sermon was injured on his first carry and did not return. The No. 2 Buckeyes went on to lose, 52-24.

A transfer from Oklahoma, Sermon rushed 116 times for 870 yards and four touchdowns and added 12 catches for 95 yards in eight games for the Buckeyes this season.

He rushed for 2,076 yards and 22 scores and caught 36 passes for 391 yards and three TDs over three seasons with the Sooners (2017-19).

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts after the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence enters 2021 NFL Draft

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is entering the 2021 NFL Draft after a dominant three-year run with the Tigers.

The projected first overall pick ended his college career with only his second career loss in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Ohio State.

“I really feel like I’m a man now and I’m ready to take on those challenges and just super excited for life ahead. The best is always yet to come … but man, I’m grateful for Clemson and I’m going to miss it,” Lawrence said in a video goodbye posted to social media accounts belonging to him and also Clemson football.

Built like an out-of-box NFL quarterback prototype at 6-5, 225 pounds, Lawrence passed for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Buckeyes, his third CFP appearance in three seasons.

Lawrence was the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Alabama’s DeVonta Smith in 2020. He has been coveted by NFL teams since his brilliant freshman season was capped by a national championship victory over Alabama.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first overall pick in the draft and owner Shad Khan declared the franchise was looking for a quarterback. Khan, who also shared he made personnel decisions last season, plans to wield the same power going forward while the Jaguars look for a new general manager and head coach.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Gainesville, FL, USA;   Florida Gators kicker Evan McPherson (19) attempts and misses a field goal that would have tied the game during a game against the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Dec. 12, 2020. Florida lost 37-34 to the Tigers. Mandatory Credit: Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK

Florida K McPherson declares for NFL draft

Florida kicker Evan McPherson on Tuesday announced his decision to forgo his senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

McPherson posted the announcement on Twitter.

“My family and I have put much time, thought and prayer into this decision over the past few weeks,” he wrote on Twitter. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to play football at the highest level in the NFL. I have decided to forego my senior year at Florida and enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Go Gators!”

McPherson, a third-year kicker from Fort Payne, Alabama, leaves as the third most accurate kicker in Gators’ history.

He connected on 17 of 19 field goals in 2018 and 2019 for an 89.5-percent conversion rate, which was a pace to set the school record at Florida. McPherson missed five FG attempts this past season (17 for 22), dropping his career rate to 85 percent, good for No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference (since 1956).

McPherson converted 149 of his 150 point-after attempts in his three years.

–Field Level Media

Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The podium with draft logo at the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL draft order for picks 1 through 18 set

With the conclusion of Week 17 Sunday night and the NFL playoffs expanded to 14 teams this season, the top 18 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft are now set.

The draft position of the 18 non-playoff teams were established once the Washington Redskins defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

After losing to the Indianapolis Colts earlier Sunday to finish the season 1-15, the Jacksonville Jaguars will pick first when the draft begins April 29. The New York Jets (2-14) will go second, followed by Miami, Atlanta and Cincinnati. The Dolphins get the No. 3 pick by way of a trade with Houston before last season. The Texans finished the season 4-12.

The Falcons were the only NFC team with 12 losses, finishing at 4-12. The Bengals, who selected quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in 2020, finished this season 4-11-1. Below is the complete order for the first 18 picks of the draft, per NFL.com. The order of the remaining 14 selections will be determined by the playoffs.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-15
2. New York Jets, 2-14
3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans), 4-12
4. Atlanta Falcons, 4-12
5. Cincinnati Bengals, 4-11-1
6. Philadelphia Eagles, 4-11-1
7. Detroit Lions, 5-11
8. Carolina Panthers, 5-11
9. Denver Broncos, 5-11
10. Dallas Cowboys, 6-10
11. New York Giants, 6-10
12. San Francisco 49ers, 6-10
13. Los Angeles Chargers, 7-9
14. Minnesota Vikings, 7-9
15. New England Patriots, 7-9
16. Arizona Cardinals, 8-8
17. Las Vegas Raiders, 8-8
18. Miami Dolphins, 10-6

–Field Level Media

Nov 2, 2019; Stillwater, OK, USA; TCU Horned Frogs safety Trevon Moehrig (7) turns to run after an interception during the fourth quarter of the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated TCU 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

TCU S Moehrig to enter NFL draft

TCU safety Trevon Moehrig has played his last game for the Horned Frogs, as he announced on social media Saturday that he is forgoing his senior season to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

Moehrig, who finished tied for second in the Big 12 with 11 passes defended, recorded two interceptions and nine pass breakups to go along with 47 tackles. He is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive back.

The two-time All-Big 12 first team selection also received All-America honors from multiple outlets, including the Sporting News, The Associated Press and ESPN.

“Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of playing in the NFL, and taking care of the ones I love most. After much prayer, thought, and talking with family I’ve decided that it is best for me to forgo my senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft. I will cherish all the memories I’ve made at TCCU and I will always be a Frog. Thank you for the support over the past 3 years,” Moehrig tweeted.

At 6-feet-2 and 202 pounds, Moehrig is expected to be an early round pick, though no safeties were taken in the first round of last year’s draft.

The NFL draft will take place April 29-May 1 in Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) celebrates after a sack against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia LB Ojulari declares for NFL draft

One day after being named the defensive MVP of Georgia’s Peach Bowl win against Cincinnati, Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari announced Saturday he is heading to the NFL.

“Playing between the hedges on Saturdays is something I’ll be proud of forever. To my teammates, my brothers, y’all are family for life,” he posted on Twitter. “As far as what’s next, I have decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Wherever this next chapter takes me, I will always be a DAWG.”

A 6-foot-3, 240-pound redshirt sophomore from Marietta, Ga., Ojulari led the Bulldogs in sacks (8.5), tackles for loss (12.5) and forced fumbles (four) in 10 games this season. He was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.

He registered three fourth-quarter sacks and forced two fumbles Friday as No. 9 Georgia rallied for a 24-21 victory against No. 8 Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the Bearcats’ first loss of the season.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Ojulari as the No. 3 outside linebacker prospect in the draft pool, after Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Joseph Ossai of Texas.

Other Georgia players who have declared for the draft include offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, cornerbacks Eric Stokes and DJ Daniel, linebacker Monty Rice and tight end Tre’ McKitty.

–Field Level Media

Dec 22, 2020; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) attempts a pass against the UCF Knights during the first half at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

BYU QB Wilson declares for NFL draft

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson announced Friday he will forego his final season of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft.

Wilson completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and only three interceptions as a junior this season. He also rushed for 254 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cougars, who finished the season with an 11-1 record.

“To the greatest fan base in the world,” Wilson posted on his Twitter account. “Thank you for the best 3 years of my life. On our home turf, or on the road, there was no question that the Blue Wave would be fierce. BYU is a special place. I’m forever blue.

“Coach Kalani (Sitake), Thank you for believing in me. You took a chance on me when others wouldn’t.”

Wilson went on to thank several other coaches and mentors, as well as his teammates and his family members. He then announced that he would not be coming back to campus next fall.

Instead, Wilson joins the draft pool as one of the top quarterback prospects behind Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Justin Fields of Ohio State.

“After much thought, prayer and consideration, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2021 NFL draft,” he wrote. “I pray that I will always make Cougar Nation proud.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans safety Talanoa Hufanga (15) celebrates after an interception in the fourth quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl. USC defeated UCLA 43-38.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Southern California star S Hufanga declares for NFL draft

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Talanoa Hufanga announced Wednesday that he is leaving Southern California and entering the NFL draft.

Hufanga, a junior safety, has received multiple first-team All-America honors after a sensational season that included 62 tackles, four interceptions, three sacks and two forced fumbles in just six games.

Hufanga made his announcement on social media.

“It is truly an honor to wear the Cardinal and Gold and have the opportunity to earn a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation,” Hufanga wrote. “After much thought and discussion, I have decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. My experiences over the last three years have been some of the greatest of my life and I will cherish them forever.”

Hufanga finishes his USC career with 203 tackles, four interceptions and four forced fumbles in 24 games (21 starts). He recorded 16.5 tackles for loss, including 6.5 sacks.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA;  Tulsa Golden Hurricane linebacker Zaven Collins (23) gets ready for a play during the game against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tulsa won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa LB Collins to skip bowl game, enter NFL draft

Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins announced Thursday he’s heading for the NFL, a day after he won the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football.

He’s leaving the program immediately and won’t play in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 31 when Tulsa (6-2) faces Mississippi State (3-7) in Fort Worth, Texas.

“In support of my family and my dreams, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft and I am turning my focus towards preparing for this dream,” he posted to Twitter. “I wish all my teammates the best of luck in the Armed Forces Bowl.”

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound junior registered 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in eight games for the Golden Hurricane. He returned two picks for touchdowns: 38 yards at South Florida (Oct. 23) and 96 yards vs. Tulane (Nov. 19).

–Field Level Media