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DaKCMan AP
01-07-2008, 07:12 AM
South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Kevin Smith leaving UCF for NFL draft
The RB has a 'change of heart' and says he will skip his senior year because he's ready 'to make the next step.'

Kyle Hightower and Mike Bianchi

Sentinel Staff Writers

5:41 AM EST, January 7, 2008

After staging a press conference the week before UCF's Liberty Bowl trip in which he said he was returning to the Knights for his senior season, junior running back Kevin Smith has decided to forgo his final year and turn pro.

"I've had a change of heart," Smith told the Sentinel Sunday. "I'm doing what's best for me and my family."

Smith burst onto the national scene this season after finishing the Knights' regular season with 2,448 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns, becoming the first back in Florida history to eclipse 2,000 yards in a single season. And his 119 yards in the Liberty Bowl placed him just 61 yards behind Barry Sanders for the all-time season rushing record.

Smith also finished the 2007 season as UCF's first consensus first-team All-American and was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's best running back.

In his Dec. 18 press conference to announce his return, Smith cited a love for UCF and a trust in his coach and teammates. He also noted a desire to get "bigger, stronger, faster" as a senior, though some draft analysts were already projecting him as early as an early second-round selection.

"For me it's about getting better," Smith said last month. "This year I got better, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to leave . . . It's one step forward . . . I got a lot more things I need to learn before I put myself out there where I'm presenting myself as stock."

But Smith said Sunday that after the hustle and bustle of bowl season passed, he had a chance to reevaluate that initial impulse and talked it over with his family while home in Miami.

"I just feel like I'm ready," Smith told the Sentinel Sunday. "After the bowl game I finally had a chance to relax, sit down and think about it. And that's when I just came to this conclusion that I'm ready for opportunity and to make next step.

"When I had the press conference a few weeks ago, that's how I felt then. I think people know with a decision like this people know you're gonna go back and forth and change your mind until you realize what you really want to do. Two weeks ago I had every intention of going back and being a Knight. My true supporters will understand and realize I'm doing what's best for me."

Smith, who said he does not yet have an agent, told UCF Coach George O'Leary of his decision Sunday morning and the team Sunday night in a mandatory team meeting.

"I visited with Kevin this afternoon and he expressed his desire to explore his NFL options," O'Leary said in statement Sunday. "Kevin had a great career at UCF. We thank him for his contributions over the past three years and wish him nothing but the best."

A source close to the football program also said Sunday that Smith's close friend and fellow junior Joe Burnett also likely would turn pro.

Burnett arrived with Smith in 2005 and was a first team All-Conference USA punt returner and cornerback this season.

If Burnett does indeed join Smith in submitting his name to this year's draft, they would become the first players during O'Leary's four-year tenure at UCF to leave the program early for the pros. Previous NFL draft picks Brandon Marshall and Mike Walker both stayed and received their degrees before heading to the pro ranks.

Smith is the third prominent member of a talented junior running back class to submit his name for early entry, joining Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall and Texas' Jamaal Charles. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Jan. 15.

Smith didn't send out for his NFL Advisory Committee evaluation before announcing his initial decision to return last month, instead depending on the NFL experience of O'Leary.

When asked last month where he thought Smith would go if he came out this year, O'Leary said he thought he could go anywhere from the second to fourth rounds.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/college/knights/orl-smith0708jan07,0,329093.story?track=rss

Baby Lee
01-07-2008, 07:24 AM
http://www.nndb.com/people/238/000027157/mewes-sized.jpg
Eff that tubby bitch!!

eazyb81
01-07-2008, 07:27 AM
GREAT decision. His stock will never be higher than it is now.

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2008, 07:29 AM
The RB depth in this year's draft is ridiculous.

Ultra Peanut
01-07-2008, 08:02 AM
HE A LIAR

Al Bundy
01-07-2008, 09:04 AM
Good job for Smith and Burnett, we are going to miss both of those guys in Orlando.

Pushead2
01-07-2008, 09:09 AM
GREAT decision. His stock will never be higher than it is now.

Agreed.

HolmeZz
01-07-2008, 09:55 AM
He had to go. He couldn't take another 450 carry season at the college level. Unfortunately, I think he's going to get drafted behind quite a few backs.

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2008, 10:06 AM
He had to go. He couldn't take another 450 carry season at the college level. Unfortunately, I think he's going to get drafted behind quite a few backs.

McFadden, Jones, Jonathan Stewart, possibly Charles. It'll be interesting to see all of the guys combine numbers. The RB position is so loaded even with guys like Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Mike Hart, Justin Forsett, Tashard Choice, Allen Patrick, etc.

JBucc
01-07-2008, 10:18 AM
McFadden, Jones, Jonathan Stewart, possibly Charles. It'll be interesting to see all of the guys combine numbers. The RB position is so loaded even with guys like Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Mike Hart, Justin Forsett, Tashard Choice, Allen Patrick, etc.
Mendenhall declared as well.

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2008, 10:22 AM
Mendenhall declared as well.

Yeah, him too. It's unbelievably deep.

Pushead2
01-07-2008, 10:24 AM
too bad we're stuck with over priced LJ.

HolmeZz
01-07-2008, 10:26 AM
McFadden, Jones, Jonathan Stewart, possibly Charles. It'll be interesting to see all of the guys combine numbers. The RB position is so loaded even with guys like Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Mike Hart, Justin Forsett, Tashard Choice, Allen Patrick, etc.

Potentially Slaton, but Mendenhall's definitely ahead of Smith. And I really like Chris Johnson a lot.

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2008, 10:35 AM
too bad we're stuck with over priced LJ.

This game is fun!

..and the Chargers with overpriced LJ, and the Seahags with overpriced Alexander, and the Redskins with overpriced Portis, and the Dolphins with overpriced Brown, and the Cardinals with overpriced James, and the Eagles with overpriced Westbrook, and the Jags with overpriced Fred Taylor, and the Falcons with overpriced Warrick Dunn, and the Saints with overpriced Deuce McAllister, and the Bengals with overpriced Rudi Johnson, and the Saints with overpriced Reggie Bush, and the Steelers with overpriced Willie Parker, and the Panthers with overpriced DeShaun Foster, and the Jets with overpriced Thomas Jones, and the Raiders with overpriced Lamont Jordan, and the Texans with overpriced Ahman Green, and the Browns with overpriced Jamal Lewis

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2008, 10:36 AM
Potentially Slaton, but Mendenhall's definitely ahead of Smith. And I really like Chris Johnson a lot.

I could see Slaton returning for another year.

Reaper16
01-07-2008, 02:22 PM
Geez, the RB depth is insane this year. Any other year and my man Xavier Omon from Northwest Missouri State would be a 4th rounder. This year, he's probably going to be a late 5th.