Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley realizes he wasn’t as productive this season as many expected him to be, but the junior from Delray Beach, Fla., looks as if he’s getting ready to leave Blacksburg after the Hokies face Michigan in the 2012 Sugar Bowl next month.
Hosley indicated Saturday afternoon following the team’s first bowl practice that once he receives a grade from the NFL’s draft advisory board, he will likely declare for the 2012 NFL draft.
“I plan on getting my grade back and go from there. Right now my mind is I’m moving on after this season,” Hosley said.
“I put the papers in because obviously I have my mind on leaving or possibly leaving,” he later added. “I’m not going back and forth or re-thinking anything. Right now my mindset is on leaving so right now I’m gonna complete the rest of my time here and help my team to win as much as I can for right now.”
Hosley has yet to talk with Coach Frank Beamer about forgoing his senior season, but said he “would definitely meet with him before my departure.” Beamer will likely remind Hosley about the potential of next year’s team, since the defense only loses senior safety Eddie Whitley.
Running back David Wilson confirmed it was a tactic the coaching staff has used with him as he ponders whether to put his name into the 2012 NFL draft. The junior tailback said Saturday it was “50-50” whether he would leave school early for the NFL. The deadline to declare for the draft is Jan. 15.
But unlike Wilson, Hosley won’t be coming off a career season. After leading the country with nine interceptions as a sophomore in 2010, he battled through injuries and hasn’t snagged an interception since Oct. 1.
Hosley conceded that “being a scout, as far as productivity, they didn’t see that from me this year. It would hurt any player that’s in my position.” He added that he will wait until hearing back from the NFL draft advisory board before making a final decision.
But Hosley mentioned that declaring for the draft was something he had thought about since before this season began. It has also been a big topic of discussion amongst his family back in South Florida.
“Definitely not the nine-pick season I had last year, but I’m not comparing this year and last year,” said Hosley, a second team all-ACC selection this season. “I feel like I got better at tackling. I learned the game more. Suffered a couple injuries that took me out a couple games, but I don’t look down on the season. I think I played well. There were things I could’ve done better, but I’m not regretting anything this season. I’m glad with what we accomplished and where we came as a team this season.”
To Hosley’s credit, he did finish with a career-high 59 tackles as the Hokies defensive coaches used him all over the field against opponents’ top receivers. Not to mention, Virginia Tech’s secondary crumbled against Clemson last week in the ACC championship game when he went down to injury in the first quarter.
Hosley said he suffered a concussion, not a stinger as originally reported, from a helmet-to-helmet hit with Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Earlier this year, Hosley missed one game due to a hamstring injury.
All of that, though, hasn’t deterred Hosley and it appears likely that next month’s Sugar Bowl will be his last game in a Hokies uniform. As he went into more detail about his decision-making process Saturday, even Hosley seemed to admit declaring for the draft is almost a forgone conclusion at this point.
“I want to go first but I didn’t put those first round stats up that everybody is looking for,” Hosley said. “Definitely want to be first round, high second. I don’t think I’m a second-round player, but you got to go wherever you’re chosen. Wherever I’m drafted I’m thankful that I made it. I’m just gonna work my ass off from there. Bless me, I’ll be a first round pick.”