- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Maryland tight end Vernon Davis will forego his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft, the school announced yesterday.

The District native opted to end his college career in favor of potentially parlaying his impressive athleticism into a spot in the first round of April’s draft. A committee of pro personnel directors and scouts told Davis he likely would be a first-round pick.

An Associated Press first-team All-American, Davis led the Terps in receptions (51), receiving yards (871) and receiving touchdowns (six) in 2005 and was a finalist for the Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. UCLA’s Marcedes Lewis won the Mackey.

Davis had four 100-yard receiving games as a junior, using his rare mix of speed (4.41 40-yard dash last spring) and strength (460-pound bench press) to emerge as Maryland’s most dangerous offensive player. Yet even with the gifted tight end, the Terps went 5-6 for the second straight season.

After the Terps’ season-ending loss at N.C. State on Nov. 26, Davis said he considered the possibility it would be his final game in a Maryland uniform, making the decision anything but a surprise.

It is the third straight season a Maryland player has declared for the draft a year early. Linebacker Shawne Merriman gave up his final year of eligibility after last season, was selected 12th overall by San Diego and earned a Pro Bowl berth as a rookie. Defensive tackle Randy Starks left after his junior year and was Tennessee’s third-round pick in 2004.

Patrick Stevens

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