Two of USC's best players say they'll request an evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, then decide whether to turn pro.
Junior quarterback Cody Kessler and junior tailback Javorius "Buck" Allen both had strong performances during the regular season. Kessler (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) has thrown for 3,505 yards and 36 touchdowns. He tossed just four interceptions and also is completing 70.7 percent of his attempts. Allen (6-1, 220) has rushed for 1,337 yards and nine TDs, and also has 40 receptions. Both can add to their stats in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl, when the Trojans take on Nebraska.
Kessler and Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian talked some last week about Kessler's pending decision, the Orange County Register reported, and Kessler told the newspaper he would seek input from the advisory board.
"You want to ... hear all your options to make the best decision," Kessler told the Register. "How this year went kind of set me up, bumped me up, helped me out a lot. But at the end of the day ... I haven't even sat down and really thought about it."
Kessler is 10th in the nation in passing yards and fourth in TD passes. He has had six 300-yard games and six four-TD games this season. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote last month "that Kessler has been so productive in a system that is similar to the schemes used by the majority of NFL teams makes him an intriguing developmental prospect to watch going forward."
Allen has had eight 100-yard games this season, though he appeared a bit worn down late in the season, rushing for 213 yards on 54 carries in the final three games. That's a 3.9-yard-per-carry average; his overall season average is 5.4 yards per carry.
Allen told the Los Angeles Times he had yet to meet with Sarkisian, saying schoolwork has taken up the bulk of his time. He told the newspaper he wasn't leaning either way and that he also would seek input from the advisory board.
"We'll go from there," he told the Times. "Whatever they come back with, we'll have to go with it."
Two other USC juniors, wide receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive lineman Leonard Williams, also will have to make decisions on whether to stay in school or turn pro.
The NFL made changes to its feedback system for college underclassmen earlier this year, trimming the number of grades it offers as well as instituting a limit for the number of underclassmen from each school that can apply for feedback.