UCLA defensive end Ellis McCarthy has declared for the NFL Draft and decided to forgo his final season of eligibility. McCarthy is just one of the many juniors that puzzle their respective coaching staffs by deciding to enter the draft, but each year a few of these players make an instant impact for NFL franchises. Apparently, McCarthy feels that he is one of those players.
“After careful consideration and prayer, I’ve decided that I’m going to forgo my senior year and enter the 2015 NFL Draft,” McCarthy said in a statement. “This was an extremely difficult decision but it is best for my family and myself.”
During his junior season, McCarthy played in 12 games, recording 20 tackles and three sacks. Despite less than ideal numbers, McCarthy will rely on his exceptional size (6’5’’, 325 lbs.) to persuade NFL teams that he can play on the inside and make an impact on the defensive line.
UCLA wrapped up their 2014 season with an impressive 40-35 Alamo Bowl victory over the Kansas State Wildcats. The Bruins, led by quarterback Brett Hundley, were among the top teams in the Pac-12 and came within one game of playing Oregon for the conference championship. McCarthy’s departure isn’t a major shot to the Bruins conference chances moving forward, but it will deplete the depth of a collegiate roster.
All underclassmen will be expected to make their final decisions by Thursday, and most of the country is waiting on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones’ decisions.
Despite a Heisman Trophy winning season, Mariota was disappointed following the National Championship loss to Ohio State and could elect to return for one last shot at capturing the ultimate crown. Nonetheless, Mariota must make his choice by Thursday as most NFL executives- specifically of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers and Tennessee Titans- sit on the edges of their seats.
*Section Photo credit to Scott Halleran, Getty Images; Featured Photo credit to Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports.