KNOXVILLE — Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray likely will have an important decision to make at the end of the season.
Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, the Volunteers' talented receivers, face a similar fork in the road.
Should they play their senior seasons at Tennessee or declare for the NFL draft as juniors?
Nearly any projection or player rankings out there has the trio of Vols high enough to make an early exit an appealing option, but ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay already knows what he'd decide if he were in their shoes.
"All three of those players, turn down the money and go back to school and get better at your art," he said during a conference call on Friday. "A year from now you could be so much more prepared to play in the NFL. Forget where you're drafted. That would be my advice to those three.
"Be prepared to go and contribute in the NFL. Your first contract is only going to last you as long as your first contract, and where you make real money at the next level is that second contract. The only way you're going to maximize that second contract is to be as NFL-ready as possible coming out of college, and I don't think any of those three guys are where they can be one day at this point right now."
Read more on this story in Saturday's Times Free Press.
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...