With the recent explosion in the number of underclassmen who turn pro each season, it should surprise no one when a star running back -- a player with a short shelf life anyway due to the pounding his body takes -- decides to leave school for the NFL as a junior. What is a bit surprising is said player's coach coming out before that player's junior season has begun to say, "Yep, he'll be leaving."
But Steve Spurrier did just that with regards to South Carolina running back Mike Davis. The junior-to-be rushed for 1,183 yards in 2013 and his coach believes he'll abandon school for a payday if he can put up good numbers once more in 2014.
"Mike Davis, if he has a big year, he'd going to go pro. And we're going to tell him to go pro, because he should. The lifespan of a running back is only a certain amount of years. If a young man after three years can go, we're going to shake his hand and let him go. That's why you keep recruiting more running backs."
The average NFL running back has a career that lists a hair longer than three seasons. That's the shortest average career of any position on the field. Consider the fact that a player lasting only three seasons in the NFL would likely be about 25-years-old at "retirement" and it's more obvious why college backs should be the guys flooring the early entry pool each season. They need to make as much cash as they can early on.
There have been 11 different ex-SEC backs drafted into the NFL the last two years. One of those players was former Gamecock Marcus Lattimore who suffered two devastating knee injuries in college. Two people who are well aware of Lattimore's situation? Spurrier and Davis.