Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon intends to apply for early eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, a source with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Mixon (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) is one of college football's most talented rushers, and had his best season for the Sooners this year in rushing for 1,274 yards in the regular season on only 187 carries (6.8-yard average). Also an accomplished receiver with 65 career catches for nine touchdowns, Mixon's skill set will be attractive to NFL clubs looking for a versatile back who can contribute on third downs.
Those same NFL clubs will have plenty of questions for Mixon, however, in trying to assess his character. Mixon's OU career was wrapped in controversy from the start after he struck a female student at a campus deli as a freshman in 2014. Sooners coach Bob Stoops suspended Mixon for a year, and he reached a plea agreement on a misdemeanor charge of acts resulting in gross injury. The victim, Amelia Molitor, required facial surgery. Mixon issued a public apology last month in which he admitted striking Molitor, but maintained that he was targeted with racial slurs in the incident.
College underclassmen face a Jan. 16 deadline to apply for early draft eligibility.
Mixon is a third-year sophomore, as he took a redshirt in 2014 while on suspension. He ran for 753 yards on 113 carries in 2015 before taking on a larger role in the OU offense this season. An NFC executive told College Football 24/7 that Mixon is the most talented player on the OU roster.
Mixon was also suspended for a game earlier this season for tearing up a campus parking ticket in front of the issuing parking attendant.