Press pause on all this college football coaching craziness and check out the moves that matter just as much — eligible underclassmen players leaving early for the NFL draft.
Juniors and third-year sophomores who want to bolt must declare their intentions by Friday. Those who opt for the draft have until Monday to change their minds. Besides balancing big dollars versus another college season, this year's crop of players also must consider the uncertain NFL labor situation.
"Everybody has different factors to make their decision," Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones said. "For me, it was to come back. For other guys, it's time to go."
Here's a glance at the programs that took major hits or received unexpected boosts from their underclassmen's choices:
Georgia Tech: The flood of talent leaving early for the NFL includes a double-digit sack man in Derrick Morgan, a double-digit career interceptions man in Morgan Burnett, 1,000-yard rusher Jonathan Dwyer, and 1,000-yard receiver Demaryius Thomas. A repeat ACC title looks less likely now for the Yellow Jackets.
USC: The Trojans' top receiver, Damian Williams; two most-talented running backs, Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson (a senior who opted not to pursue a medical redshirt); and most-productive defensive end, Everson Griffen, all bailed school early.
Florida: The Gators lost five players, highest in the country. Sure first-round picks Joe Haden at corner and Carlos Dunlap at defensive end head up the exodus.
Georgia: The early departures of linebacker Rennie Curran and safety Reshad Jones mean the top two tacklers on an already shaky Bulldogs defense won't be back.
Oklahoma: With a slew of NFL-ready talent, the Sooners prep for such departures every year. Still, the loss of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and corner Dominique Franks will hurt.
USF: Leading receiver Carlton Mitchell leaving early dents the offense. On defense, the subtraction of end Jason Pierre-Paul decimates the Bulls' pass rush.
Arkansas: Quarterback Ryan Mallett turned down almost certain first-round cash to lead the Razorbacks on a run toward the SEC West title. The return of tight end and big target D.J. Williams makes his job easier.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels bring back six junior starters, led by first-team All-ACC picks linebacker Quan Sturdivant, corner Kendric Burney and safety Deunta Williams.
Washington: Jake Locker joins Mallett in this year's "Surprise! I'm Back" club, and he takes Washington from also-ran to the Pac-10 team on the fastest rise.
Michigan State: Jones, the Big Ten defensive player of the year, serves as the heart of the Spartans' squad. MSU will need him to survive a stacked Big Ten next season.
Houston: Quarterback Case Keenum, a Heisman Trophy candidate for half of 2009, returns to school and keeps the Cougars as a favorite in Conference USA.
Pittsburgh: End Greg Romeus, the leading sack guy on the team with the most sacks per game in Division I-A, returns to anchor one of the Big East's best defenses.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
CFT: The Detroit Lions are expected to own and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field, starting play in 2014, according to a report by ESPN.
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