Sooners declare for the NFL draft

Success has a price tag in college football.

Oklahoma, one game from the national championship game and winner of the Big 12 Conference, is losing at least two undergraduate stars to the upcoming NFL draft.

OU tight end Mark Andrews has declared for early entry into the NFL draft on Thursday night. The redshirt junior is the Sooners’ only winner of the Mackey Award, which is presented to the college football’s top tight end. Andrews wrote on social media beginning with the passion for Oklahoma football from his 88-year-old grandfather, Jack Andrews, who was a student at OU during the Bud Wilkinson years.

“As a child, I would watch games with him and my grandmother and hear all about the success of his beloved alma mater,” Andrews wrote. “Getting a scholarship offer to play for The University of Oklahoma was a dream come true for me and my family.”

Andrews began his career as a redshirt in 2014. He spent his first season on the scout team alongside quarterback Baker Mayfield and offensive tackle Orlando Brown. The trio would become unanimous All-Americans this season.

The 6-5, 254-pounder finished with 62 receptions for 958 yards and 8 touchdowns. His 2017 receiving yardage topped the combined yardage (906 yards) of his first two seasons. He is OU’s all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end (1,713).

Andrews’ announcement was one day after Brown announced his decision to forego his final season at OU. Brown always said he wouldn’t leave school until he was ready to be a first-round pick.

Now that Brown is projected in the first round of many NFL mock drafts, that time has come.

“After talking things over with my family and coaches, I will be declaring early for the NFL draft,” Brown said on Twitter. “It’s been an amazing 4 years here. I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other university. Thank you Sooner Nation!!!”

Brown redshirted in 2014, then went on to be a three-year starter on OU teams that won three consecutive Big 12 championships. Brown was a second-team AP All-American as a redshirt sophomore, then was a unanimous first-team All-American and finalist for the Outland Award as a junior.

Brown heads to the NFL at 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds and there are questions about whether Brown’s height could make him better suited as a right tackle or even a guard in the NFL.

“He sees himself as a left tackle,” said Jammal Brown, a former OU lineman and two-time first-team All-American who is Brown’s mentor. “I know he can play left tackle. He’s been playing left tackle for a top-10 team for the last couple years, so I feel like any team that drafts him should give him his chance at left tackle before they try to move him.”

The first round of the draft that will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 26-28.

Underclassmen who have declared for the draft:

  • Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
  • Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
  • Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
  • Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
  • Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  • Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest
  • Orlando Brown, OL, Oklahoma
  • Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
  • Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
  • Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech
  • James Daniels, OL, Iowa
  • Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  • Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn
  • Michael Dickson, P, Texas
  • DeShon Elliott, S, Texas
  • Nick Gates, OL, Nebraska
  • Frank Ginda, LB, San Jose State
  • Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee
  • Quadree Henderson, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Holton Hill, DB, Texas
  • Jeff Holland, LB, Auburn
  • Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
  • Sam Hubbard, DL, Ohio State
  • Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State
  • J.C. Jackson, DB, Maryland
  • Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
  • Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
  • Derwin James, DB, Florida State
  • Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State
  • Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
  • Ronald Jones II, RB, Southern California
  • Arden Key, LB, LSU
  • Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
  • John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
  • Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska
  • Hercules Mata’afa, DL, Washington State
  • D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
  • Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State
  • Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado
  • Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
  • Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
  • Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida
  • Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
  • Andre Smith, LB, North Carolina
  • Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
  • Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
  • Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
  • Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
  • Vita Vea, DL, Washington
  • Mark Walton, RB, Miami
  • Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
  • Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh
  • Tyler Wiegers, QB, Iowa
  • Connor Williams, OT, Texas