NEW YORK (AP) — A record 98 underclassmen, including Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney, have made themselves eligible for the NFL draft in May.
The league released the list of early entrants Sunday and said the number has risen six straight seasons. The deadline for underclassmen to apply was Jan. 15.
Last year, 73 underclassmen entered the draft. The year before it was 65 and in 2011 it was 56.
Also, four players who recently graduated and still have eligibility left are joining the draft class but aren't included in the number. Most notable among those is Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Southern California defensive back Dion Bailey, Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford and Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard are also juniors who have informed the league they have graduated.
Among the early entrants expected to be selected near the top of the draft are Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback, Clowney, the defensive end from South Carolina, and Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins.