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Urban Meyer wants early-entry deadline for draft to be later

DALLAS -- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer would like to see the NFL's Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to file for early draft eligibility moved back to allow the last group of top juniors still playing meaningful college football more than three days to make those decisions final.

In its first year, the College Football Playoff format pushed the national championship game to Jan. 12, several days later than the title game was played under the former BCS format. While Meyer said there was nobody to blame for the time pinch, and noted he has no underclassmen who will give any thought to turning pro after Monday's CFP title game against Oregon, he knows a program like Ohio State could have a large contingent of juniors considering the pro leap in any given year.

"If we were in that situation, you'd like to have more space, more time," Meyer said. "So I think now that there's a playoff, they should re-address that and move it back a little bit."

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, by contrast, doesn't see an issue with the smaller window between the end of the season and the deadline.

"It's fine. I don't know how much that affects the next-level type process. Academically, (that's) the biggest thing for a guy who is wishy-washy or getting advice or meeting some people. That can create some issues because we are already back in school," Helfrich said. "But it's fine. Like anything else, you just manage it."

Meyer said after the 2009 season as Florida's coach, he had 12 players file for feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, and he lost half of them to the draft.

"This year we're unique. We don't have that issue.  Last year we had two guys. I just think that whole process, everybody is trying to do the right thing. I've been involved in those conversations," Meyer said. "When you see so many underclassmen not get drafted and their careers just ripped apart, we need to keep evaluating this. It's not right yet, but that's not an attack on anyone, everyone is trying to do the right thing."

As part of an effort to stop the increase of underclassmen declaring for the draft, the advisory board began limiting schools to five applications each this year, and narrowed its feedback to players to three grades: first-round, second-round, or a recommendation to return to school. Helfrich said he favors those changes.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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