Seventy-four underclassmen successfully petitioned the NFL for special eligibility this year, and another 10 who already graduated but had eligibility remaining also made themselves available for the draft. Among that group of 84, however, 24 players went undrafted (29 percent).
Most will be signed as undrafted free agents or, at the very least, head to a training camp with an opportunity to make the squad. While 24 undrafted early entrants isn't exactly positive news, the number is still down quite a bit from last year.
In the 2014 NFL Draft, a record number of 98 underclassmen, plus four more players with degrees, were granted eligibility for the draft. Of the 102 early entrants, 38 went undrafted (37 percent).
Those data points will probably be used as evidence to support the case that the new rules implemented to limit the number of underclassmen in the draft are working. Among the rules changes: limiting the number of players per school who could apply for a grade from the draft advisory board and a more streamlined grading system.
Some of the notable undrafted early entrants this year were Houston wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, USC wide receiver George Farmer, UCLA defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, ex-Alabama/Colorado State tailback Dee Hart, and Texas A&M running back Trey Williams, all of whom were five-star recruits. Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge and TCU safety Chris Hackett were probably the two highest-graded players among the underclassmen who didn't get drafted.
Here's the full list of undrafted early entrants:
» DE Deion Barnes, Penn State
» RB B.J. Catalon, TCU
» WR Zach D'Orazio, Akron
» WR DaVaris Daniels, Notre Dame
» SS Durell Eskridge, Syracuse
» WR George Farmer, USC
» LB Max Flores, Northern Colorado
» CB Jacoby Glenn, UCF
» WR Deontay Greenberry, Houston
» FS Chris Hackett, TCU
» WR Chris Harper, California
» RB Dee Hart, Colorado State
» RB Braylon Heard, Kentucky
» DT David Irving, Iowa State
» WR Nigel King, Kansas
» DT Ellis McCarthy, UCLA
» OT Patrick Miller, Auburn
» OG Tyler Moore, Florida
» WR Jaquel Pitts, Trinity International
» OLB Darien Rankin, North Carolina
» TE Jean Sifrin, Massachusetts
» WR Tacoi Sumler, Appalachian State
» LS Easton Wahlstrom, Arizona State
» RB Trey Williams, Texas A&M