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Johnny Manziel says he thinks he's ready for next level


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel said Wednesday night he thinks he's ready for pro football.

Manziel and six of the nation's other top underclassmen were at Disney World on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday's College Football Awards Show. When asked about potentially turning pro, each of the seven -- including Manziel -- said he hadn't decided.

But when asked if he was ready for the "next level," Manziel talked about what would go into his decision, finishing with, "I think I am."

Manziel spent part of the day inside the Magic Kingdom and was late for the session with the media because he wasn't feeling well. But when he showed up, he was his usual polished self.

"All the draft stuff will come eventually," said Manziel, a third-year sophomore. "It's something I'm trying to push off for a while."

Manziel also said he was trying to have fun with the process.

"Hey, it's Christmastime, it's bowl season," he said. "This is a good time of the year."

Ultimately, he said, the decision for any underclassman comes down to "what's best for you."

Here's a rundown of the other six underclassmen at the event.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Cooks, a junior, is the No. 2 receiver in the nation, with 120 receptions. He said he has thought about turning pro "a lot" and plans to make a decision "right after the bowl game." Oregon State meets Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

Cooks said he has met with members of Oregon State's football operations staff about the decision and will talk with coach Mike Riley next week, after Riley gets back from some recruiting trips.

The one thing he's sure of, Cooks said, is that he would "like to end the season with a bang for myself."

Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

Carey, a junior, led the nation in rushing last season and is No. 2 this season. He said he sent in paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board over the weekend.

Carey said that if he received a first- or second-round grade, "I can't pass that up."

Carey also said, "There are a lot of things boiling in the pot that affect my decision."

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in October that he would be surprised if Watkins returned for his senior season, but Watkins said he hasn't made up his mind.

He did admit, though, that "with the type of season I had, I probably want to leave."

Watkins said he plans to send in his paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board early next week. He also said that if he does turn pro, he will train with his half-brother, Florida senior safety Jaylen Watkins, at a facility in Boca Raton, Fla.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans, a third-year sophomore, sent in his paperwork last week and said he expects to make a decision after the Aggies' Chick-fil-A Bowl performance against Duke on New Year's Eve.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Underclassmen tracker's College Football 24/7 is tracking reports of the intentions of college football underclassmen in anticipation for the 2014 NFL Draft. More ...

Sankey, a junior who is the nation's No. 3 rusher, said he is "50-50" on returning for his senior season. He said he sent in his draft paperwork last week.

"I will talk it over with my family and make a decision after the bowl game," he said.

Sankey and the Huskies meet BYU in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27.

Washington has a new coach -- Chris Petersen arrived from Boise State to replace Steve Sarkisian, who left for USC -- but Sankey said the coaching change won't play a role in his decision. He did point out that if he stayed, he would have had three running back coaches in four seasons.

He also said the success of tailbacks in Petersen's offenses at Boise State, specifically Doug Martin, was something he had noticed.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

Seferian-Jenkins is a third-year sophomore who won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end Wednesday morning. He was blunt in his assessment about the process: "It's a business decision," he said, later adding, "It's a process, and you have to be smart about it."

Seferian-Jenkins compared the decision to making investments and said he needed to do his due diligence, including getting feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board -- he sent in his paperwork last week -- and looking into the tight ends who will be available in the draft. Seferian-Jenkins specifically mentioned North Carolina's Eric Ebron as an early entrant at the position.

As with Sankey, Seferian-Jenkins said the coaching change at Washington would have no effect on his decision.

"I came to play for the Huskies, not a coach," he said.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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