UCLA Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley has decided to return to school for his junior season rather than entering the 2014 NFL Draft, according to a report by ESPN.com.
An official announcement is expected this week.
Hundley was projected as a first-round pick this year by www.NFLDraftScout.com, but he also is considered a raw athlete who could go anywhere from the top 10 or slide to the bottom half of the round depending on pre-draft workouts.
He closed his 2013 season with an outstanding performance in UCLA's 42-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns while adding 161 yards on 10 carries - spurring speculation he may use the performance as a springboard to the NFL. However, there are a host of potential first-round quarterbacks in 2014 that will make for stiff competition for high draft slots. Louisville junior Teddy Bridgewater is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 overall rated player, while Texas A&M redshirt sophomore Johnny Manziel (No. 8) is expected to announce he will enter this year's draft as well.
Central Florida junior Blake Bortles (No. 12 overall) and Fresno State senior Derek Carr (18) are also currently rated as first-round prospects by NFLDraftScout.com. Bortles has not yet announced his decision. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the 2014 draft.
By staying in school, Hundley will enter his junior season expected to compete with Oregon's Marcus Mariota to emerge as the top prospect available for the 2015 draft. Both quarterbacks have two years of eligibility remaining. Mariota is currently the top-rated quarterback in the 2016 class by NFLDraftScout.com, followed by Manziel and Hundley.
Hundley passed for 3,071 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions as a redshirt sophomore in 2013. NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang was impressed with Hundley's raw physical skill-set in evaluating the dual-threat quarterback, along with his poise and vision despite his youth.
However, Rang also noted, "Hundley's ball placement is a work-in-progress and he needs to improve his pocket awareness to feel the rush and quicken his reads to find a target. Like most young quarterbacks, he needs to develop his anticipation as a passer and show better rhythm with his weapons, but he has the qualities that can't be coached. Good, but not great straight-line speed in the mold of elite dual-threat QBs."
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