With the regular season in the books and bowl practices underway, it’s the time of year that college football juniors begin declaring their intentions for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Both Alvin Kamara and Derek Barnett – two of UT’s most likely early-entry candidates in 2017 – addressed the topic after the Vols’ indoor practice on Monday.
Both had the same approach.
“We got another game,” said Kamara. “The season isn’t over, I’m just worried about my teammates and this game coming up. I mean, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes up (after the Music City Bowl). I’m not really focused on it.”
“I’ll probably make a decision after the season,” Barnett, who was selected as an AP First-Team All-American on Monday, added. “Right now I’m not really worried too much about the NFL Draft, I’m just worried about finishing the season off the right way and then when we do that, I’ll start thinking about the next step and what I want to do.”
NFL decisions can certainly be distractions as players must prepare for bowl games with perhaps a multi-million dollar decision hanging in the balance. Kamara said his focus has been on just living in the moment, and not looking too far ahead.
“I’m here – I kind of go day-by-day,” he said. “I don’t look ahead. When you look ahead you kind of miss the small things in life, so I don’t want to look ahead and miss being around my teammates and my coaches and miss an opportunity to prepare how I know I can. I’m not worried about (pro opportunities) or whatever.”
Kamara, Barnett and receiver Josh Malone are the juniors who are expected to weigh their options and make a decision.
Several seniors such as linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, cornerback Cam Sutton and quarterback Joshua Dobbs should also be in the mix to be drafted in 2017 as the Vols look to break a two-year streak with no draftees.