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I know this is old news, but I have not had the chance to give my take on Harvey Unga's decision to come back for his senior year.
Let me say from the outset that I am not privy to any of the Unga family secrets, or the information that Unga received from the NFL, coaches, and former BYU players. That being said, I can't find any reason to justify Unga leaving school early.
What more can he achieve?
This would be a good reason for Harvey to go. Unga is already the all-time career rushing leader at BYU. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards three years straight. He has scored 45 touchdowns. With the departure of Max Hall, Dennis Pitta, Jan Jorgensen, and the rest of the senior class, he can't say he wanted to come back for a chance at a BCS bowl like Jerry Hughes did for TCU.
Two case studies
1. Luke Staley--Following his unprecedented 2001 season when he won the Doak Walker Award, Staley declared for the NFL draft. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Lions and never caught on.
2. Austin Collie--Following his unprecendented 2008 season when he led the nation in receiving, Collie delcared for the NFL draft. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts and contributed immediately to a team that played in the Super Bowl.
Both players stood to increase their draft stock by playing their senior years, but the difference was their health. Staley suffered a season ending injury against Mississippi State twelve games into the season. That was only the beginning to his medical history. Although Collie successfully made the jump, Unga fits more into the Luke Staley category--same position, same history of injuries. Pro Scouts would downgrade him severely if he were to come out this year for his history of injuries. However, if Unga can go through his senior year without injury, pro teams will be able to look past some of his past problems. He will gain much more by having a healthy senior year than he would lose by having another injury plagued year like 2009.
Normally when a player runs for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and scores a lot of touchdowns like Unga did in 2007 and 2008, they attract a lot of attention. Harvey did not. Even when he eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau for a thrid time this year no one made a big deal about it. Maybe if he had played and had a good game against Oklahoma he would have attracted some attention. In any case, if you want a fair shake in the NFL, especially at running back, it is better if you are drafted by a team that believes in you. Coming back for his senior year can make that happen.
Although Unga's achievements as a Cougar are already better than anyone before him, the timing is not right for Unga to make a move as risky as forefiting a year of college eligibility to go for a career in the NFL. He needs his senior year to improve his national profile and durability in the minds of NFL decision makers.