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Running away from Pitt? McCoy's family says he'll turn pro

Kevin Gorman
| Friday, Jan. 9, 2009

University of Pittsburgh star tailback LeSean McCoy is expected to announce today he will turn professional.

Two family sources on Thursday confirmed that McCoy is scheduled to meet with Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt and, barring a last-minute change of heart, plans to enter the April 25-26 NFL Draft.

The application deadline for underclassmen is Jan.15.

McCoy, 20, is eligible for the draft because he is three years removed from the graduation of his high school class. He left Harrisburg's Bishop McDevitt High midway through his senior year and spent three semesters at Milford Academy, a prep school in New Berlin, N.Y., before enrolling at Pitt.

As recently as Monday, Wannstedt said he expected McCoy to return for his junior season. Wannstedt was out of town recruiting yesterday and did not return phone calls seeking comment.

McCoy, who declined comment for this story, evaded questions about entering the draft all season. In November, before Pitt played West Virginia in the 101st Backyard Brawl, McCoy said he was “definitely” returning.

“There's a lot of stuff I've got to prove,” he said. “I don't think I did enough here at this university. There's a lot left to achieve here.”

Wannstedt told reporters in a teleconference call Monday that, after discussions with McCoy and his parents both before and after the Brut Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, the tailback was “excited to come back for another year.”

McCoy, however, sought the advice of Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Both of the former Pitt stars left early for the NFL, were first-round picks and are now Pro Bowl selections.

McCoy's brother, LeRon, has spent three seasons as an NFL receiver and is a former teammate of Fitzgerald's with the Cardinals.

Daphne McCoy, the running back's mother, said this week the family was awaiting a report from the NFL Draft advisory board, which gave McCoy a first-round grade.

Todd McShay, ESPN draft analyst and director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc., projects McCoy as a late first-rounder.

“I know it was hard for him because he wanted to go back and have more to do in college, but it's hard to turn down the money,” McShay said. “Running backs, you've got to get it while it's out there because of the wear and tear.

“For him, financially, it's the right decision.”

Fear of injury appears to be a factor in the decision. McCoy was rated the nation's top running back prospect by recruiting services entering his senior year at Bishop McDevitt, but a fractured leg ended his season early.

The 6-foot, 205-pound McCoy, a two-time first-team All-Big East selection, rushed for 1,488 yards and 21 touchdowns on 308 carries this season at Pitt.

McCoy's 2,816 rushing yards in two seasons topped the 2,690 yards gained by Pitt legend Tony Dorsett in 1973-74.

Dorsett said prior to the Sun Bowl that while he wanted to see McCoy return, he wouldn't blame him for going pro.

“I'm a little prejudiced," Dorsett said. "I'm selfish from the standpoint of wanting to see him do great things in a Pitt uniform. I understand the business part of it, as well. Who's to tell a kid to stay, if he's projected to be a high draft pick?"

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