football Edit

Valentine and Collins join rare group to declare early

Nebraska DT's Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins became the first ever pair of underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft in the same year at NU since 2005.
Nebraska DT's Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins became the first ever pair of underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft in the same year at NU since 2005. (Associated Press )


The decision for Maliek Collins to declare for the NFL Draft a year early didn't come as a major surprise to most Husker fans, but Vincent Valentine's decision to go pro definitely stirred up some good debate with his overall lack of production this past season.

While teams like Ohio State or Alabama might have as many are nine or more players declare early on a given year, it's been more a rarity at Nebraska despite the fact several could've gone early and been high draft picks, but chose to come back.

Most recently defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh, Jared Crick and defensive back Prince Amukamara all ring a bell.

Following the 1996 season both Grant Wistrom and Jason Peter also were guys that had high first round draft pick ability, but still chose to come back in 1997.

What's interesting about the history of players declaring early at NU is it only happened one time under Bo Pelini's watch, while three players declared early under Bill Callahan.

No player that has declared early at NU has gone any worse than the fourth round since 1990, and eight of the 11 players that have gone that route have been first and second round picks.

Do Collins and Valentine fall in that category? Collins received a second round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, while Valentine is looked at as a potential mid to late round draft pick. Time will tell if they made the right decision.

Nebraska players that have declared early
Year Player Position  Round

1992

Johnny Mitchell

TE

1st round

1993

Derek Brown

RB

4th round

1994

Calvin Jones

RB

3rd round

1996

Lawrence Phillips

RB

1st round

1998

Ahman Green

RB

3rd round

2001

Dominic Raiola

OL

2nd round

2002

Toniu Fonoti

OL

2nd round

2005

Josh Bullocks

DB

2nd round

2005

Fabian Washington

DB

1st round

2007

Brandon Jackson

RB

2nd round

2015

Randy Gregory

DE

2nd round

2016

Maliek Collins

DT

?

2016

Vincent Valentine

DT

?

13 players have declared early for the NFL Draft at Nebraska since 1990.