Fri Jan 09 03:20pm EST
LeSean McCoy has spent the last month-and-a-half insisting he's coming back to Pitt for his junior season. He said it before the regular season finale against West Virginia, when he told the press, "I'm not going anywhere," then again before the Sun Bowl. Earlier this week, Dave Wannstedt told the media that LeSean and his parents are "excited about being here" and another year could only help his draft stock. This afternoon, McCoy's going to do the only obvious thing: Meet with Wannstedt and tell his coach he's bolting for the NFL.
Multiple reports out of Pittsburgh conclude McCoy is a goner after he failed to show at a meeting Thursday, including the Post-Gazette (linked above), which takes a stab at the reason behind his change of heart:
McCoy repeated [his intention to return] many times when the subject was broached, even during the week leading up to the Panthers' 3-0 loss in the Sun Bowl to Oregon State. But according to one family member, McCoy began to have a change of heart in El Paso, especially given the lackluster performance of the offense.
The Sun Bowl was so putrid players are actively seeking to cut it and everyone associated with it out of their lives. I've made no secret that McCoy replaced Mike Hart this year as my favorite running back -- he almost singlehandedly beat West Virginia in 2007 and Notre Dame last October, while carrying an offense with no other reliable weapons -- but I don't want him back for selfish reasons. No, come back, LeSean, for your own sake, because the draft is already bursting with drool-worthy underclassman running backs: Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno, Shonn Greene and Donald Brown are stiff competition. Not that McCoy can't hold his own, but wouldn't you rather come back for another big year than settle for falling into the second round? Dave Wannstedt thinks so.
There is no reason whatsoever to hold back Jeremy Maclin, on the other hand, another third-year sophomore who scorched earth across the Big 12 to the tune of 5,600 all-purpose yards and 33 touchdowns in two years. He caught 102 passes this year from Chase Daniel in the process of earning his second straight All-American nod from the AP, and with Daniel graduating, Maclin's not going to wait around for Daniel's heir apparent, Blaine Gabbert, to grow into his recruiting hype.
Maclin's not big, but his absurd speed and versatility will likely push him past Hakeem Nicks and Darrius Heyward-Bey as the second first round receiver off the board. The first? Michael Crabtree, who made his long-expected departure officially official today in Lubbock. Godspeed, sure-handed sirs.
Other notable names declaring for the draft today include underrated Alabama running back Glen Coffee, who was second in the SEC in rushing but is probably not a first day pick; BYU receiver Austin Collie, who quietly caught 95 passes and holds every major Cougar receiving record in just three years' of work; and Penn State sackmaster Aaron Maybin, who was this year's most surprising All-American after racking up 11 sacks in the Lions' first nine games (though only one in the last four).