Friday, January 8, 2010

Harvey Unga: To Stay at Brigham Young University Or Go Pro?

Like most BYU fans I must qualify myself in this discussion as a biased fan that wants Harvey to stay so that BYU will be better next year. I would argue that he is the best back BYU has ever had, and one more year would only cement that, maybe forever.

Various sources are reporting that he intends to submit his name to the draft, which is pretty understandable considering another year in college only risks injury that may completely prevent him from playing in the NFL.

While there are not very many injuries that would completely end his career, it is reasonable to think that his draft stock would be greatly hindered by a major injury, especially one to his legs.

The biggest risk that he has in going to the NFL is not being drafted very high, or at all, and not making a team next year which would just be a waste for everyone involved.  Anyone who has seen him play very much realizes he is worthy of a reasonably high draft selection, but that is never a gimme.

Look at Austin Collie last year.  He led the country in receiving yards, and was in the top five in receptions and touchdowns.  He was also an All-American, but didn't get drafted until the fourth round, by no means a great slot. Unga does not have nearly the national recognition that Collie did.

Now, it turned out well for Collie who is playing for a great team, and has established himself as a quality receiver this year, but you never know what team will pick you up, especially as you get into the later rounds.

This draft is extremely loaded with quality prospects, and especially a lot of solid running backs. When I hear discussions of potential running backs being drafted I have not once heard Unga's name. He does not even appear on ESPN's list of potential draft picks.

Now let's consider what Harvey would gain by staying another year.
He would completely cement his legacy at BYU by increasing his record-setting numbers. He would be the star on a team that is known for its offensive prowess, and that has placed itself firmly in national discussions due to recent success.

Perhaps most importantly, he will have the chance to let the nation get to know him.  While watching the Las Vegas Bowl, the announcers repeatedly mentioned how good Harvey is. It was a nationally-televised game in which
Harvey showed only a glimmer of his true ability.

Now imagine the coverage of a senior leader that is crushing school and conference records as his team is often in the national discussion. He would be a year stronger, and in a draft that is not so heavily stacked, though there is no way to know what underclassmen will declare early next year.

Despite my deep desire that Harvey stay at BYU for one more year I genuinely think it is in his best interest to stay. I think he will be much better off if he does.

If he does declare for the draft then I will completely understand that, and I will support him completely hoping to see him plowing people over on Sundays, but I will have my fingers crossed that he doesn't until he announces his decision.

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