A September knee injury ended UCLA star linebacker Myles Jack's 2015 season.
His college career is over, as well. The talented junior has withdrawn from the school and will apply for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft, coach Jim Mora said Tuesday. Mora told The Rich Eisen Show he supports Jack's decision and believes he has the talent to succeed at the next level, saying "I want what he wants." But the coach also revealed concerns about Jack's decision.
"I think there's risk, I really do. I think he's a rare talent, though. There aren't many like him. I know the NFL is conservative, and they like to see a lot of film on a guy before they take him," Mora told Eisen. "They don't like to speculate on what someone might be. Scouts, in particular, like to be able to present to the head coach and general manager exactly what they think a player is.
"Maybe they have enough film of Myles, maybe they don't. I think he'll be drafted high, and I think he'll be very successful. There's always a little risk, especially given the fact that he doesn't have much junior film for them to look at, but he's a special talent."
Jack was an immediate star for the Bruins as a freshman in 2013. He was a two-way player, playing primarily as a linebacker but serving as an effective running back, too. He was the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year, and his encore as a sophomore, though he saw time at running back less frequently, was equally impressive.
Later on Tuesday, Jack released a statement on Twitter, saying, "After long discussions with my family, teammates, coaches and friends, I have made the tough decision to leave UCLA and start preparation for the next step in my journey."
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, doesn't believe Jack's short college career of two seasons plus a few games will adversely affect his draft status.
"This guy has started a lot of football games and was very productive. He has a really enticing skill set. This news doesn't come as much of a surprise to me," Jeremiah said. "I've been in draft rooms where players were ranked very high with far less experience."
Jeremiah cited 10th-year NFL veteran Antonio Cromartie as one example. Cromartie was the 19th overall pick in the 2006 draft after two healthy seasons (he missed 2005 with a knee injury) at Florida State in which he never was a full-time starter.
This season, Jack was used at multiple linebacker positions as the Bruins looked to use his versatility and unique ability to play in pass coverage as much as possible. Two weeks ago during practice, Jack tore his meniscus and was lost for the season. In three games before the injury, Jack made 15 tackles and a game-clinching interception against BYU on his final play of the season.