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January 7, 2014
Rojo Breakdown: Should Abdullah take off early?
During bowl practice in December, Ameer Abdullah said he wasn't giving any thought to the NFL. He already had 1,568 rushing yards at that point and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection, but he claimed his focus was on the Gator Bowl and not anything else.
His tune changed in less than a month's time.
After running for 122 yards and a touchdown against a Georgia defense loaded with future pros, Abdullah said he planned to talk things over with his family and coach Bo Pelini. He gave no sure indication that he was leaving early, but unlike defensive end Randy Gregory, he left the door open.
So what should Abdullah do? Nebraska fans obviously want him back - he accounted for 60.3 percent of NU's rushing yards and 35.9 percent of NU's total offense in 2013. But let's take a statistical look at the pros and cons to see whether Abdullah should bolt to the pros or stick around another year.
Pros to leaving early
Younger backs are drafted higher: Typically, the more college carries a running back has, the less desirable he becomes to NFL teams. NFL running backs have a very short shelf life - the amount of hits they take on a play-to-play basis builds up quickly, and few last past age 30. The human body simply isn't designed to take the beating that backs usually endure, and their careers tend to flame out more quickly than that of other skill position players.
This is a major factor in Abdullah's decision - over the past three seasons, underclassmen backs are drafted much higher than their senior counterparts. Take into account the following numbers (Upperclassmen-underclassmen):