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Oklahoma football: Tony Jefferson, Kenny Stills ponder NFL futures

Sooner juniors will consider what round they might go in and how much money is involved before deciding whether to leave early or come back for one more year.
by Jason Kersey Published: December 22, 2012
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/articleid/3740027/1/pictures/1913746">Photo -  Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson, left, and Kenny Stills pose for a photo during OU's football media day in Norman, Okla., Saturday August 6, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson, left, and Kenny Stills pose for a photo during OU's football media day in Norman, Okla., Saturday August 6, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Plus, considering the NFL's salary structure, it's easy to see why lower-round selections' NFL careers are frequently short-lived.

“Who are the guys ... that are easy to let go of after three years? The third and the fourth, fifth, sixth rounders,” Stoops said. “They don't have as much invested, and now they have to play you twice as much on your second contract. ‘Why don't I just get another kid out of college and pay him the same thing?'

“If you have the ability to be a first-rounder, and you go in the second, you've lost ... a significant amount of money to never get back if you could've had it, and finished your degree.”

Jefferson and Stills each said graduation isn't a factor, because they're both one more semester from earning degrees.

The two friends' 2013 draft projections, though, are quite different; Stills admits his ceiling probably isn't as high.

He'd be the 14th-best receiver available this year, according to ESPN.com's current prospect rankings.

“Tony's a guy that, he's an All-American,” Stills said. “His opportunities may be a little bigger than mine ... It's hard for us to compare what we're doing.”

Stills said his parents are handling all of his NFL-related business right now. His father, Ken Stills, was an NFL safety for six seasons.

“Zero,” Stills responded when asked what percentage of his decision would be based on the advisory board's projection.

“What they have to say is cool, but I can evaluate myself. My dad's been there. I've got a lot of people that know a lot of things.”

Stoops, his assistants and NFL-curious juniors will sit down after the Cotton Bowl and assess each individual situation. He said it's tough to sway a player who's already dead set on leaving.

“They generally went where they said they were gonna go,” Stoops said. “They generally didn't play long and generally didn't make much money because of where they were picked.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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