Fresno State has 27 seniors, some that could garner interest from NFL teams in advance of the 2019 draft with wideout KeeSean Johnson at the top of that list.
Linebacker Jeff Allison could join them, but the true junior and defensive player of the year in the Mountain West Conference said his immediate focus is on what’s directly in front of him rather than an early entry into the NFL Draft.
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“That’s something I always dreamed about as a kid,” he said. “The opportunity to be there, it’s something that I’m going to look into. But at the moment, I just want to focus on this bowl game, trying to help my brothers and get this 12th win to send the seniors off right.
“That’s a big driver for us. We want to be the first team to go down in Bulldog history with 12 wins. We owe it to our fans. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to this program. That’s our goal, to go out and get that 12th win.”
At minimum, Allison would file paperwork with the NFL to get an evaluation from the NFL college advisory committee, which includes evaluators from teams as well as the two sanctioned scouting organizations.
A school can request five evaluations, with exceptions on a case-by-case basis. The ratings come back as potential first round, potential second round or neither.
Playing a lead role on one of the top defenses in college football this season, Allison has racked up 121 tackles including 66 solo, despite playing only a handful of snaps in a 48-3 victory at UNLV before leaving as a precautionary measure with an injury. He has had 10 or more tackles in six games with a high of 17 in the Bulldogs’ 21-3 victory at Nevada in their conference opener, with 11 solo tackles.
The 235-pound middle linebacker also has 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions, both coming in a 38-14 victory at UCLA.
Fresno State is ranked second in the nation in points allowed, 13.7 per game. It also is 17th in total defense and has a streak of 24 consecutive games in which it has allowed less than 30 points, the longest in the nation by a large margin; Mississippi State and Notre Dame are tied for second with 14 games in a row.
The deadline to declare for the draft is Jan. 14, though already close to 20 underclassmen have said they would forgo a senior season to enter the draft and in some cases take a pass on bowl games this season.
Arizona State wideout N’Keal Harry, a junior, has declared for the draft and will not play in the Las Vegas Bowl against Fresno State.
The draft is April 25-27, in Nashville, Tenn.
The Bulldogs have not had a player selected in the NFL Draft since defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (New Orleans, fifth round), safety Derron Smith (Cincinnati, sixth) and offensive guard Cody Wichmann (Rams, sixth) went in 2015.
The three-year drought is the longest in school history going back to 1941 and the first Bulldogs’ player to be selected in the draft, Jack Mulkey.
“Everybody thinks about that, but right now I’m not focusing on that, I’m focusing on this bowl game,” Allison said.