- - Saturday, December 10, 2011

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Preparing for a Sugar Bowl date with No. 13 Michigan isn’t the only thing on the minds of Virginia Tech juniors Jayron Hosley and David Wilson.

Both have NFL futures to consider, and while Wilson, the Hokies’ starting tailback, is undecided about declaring early for the draft, Hosley, a starting cornerback, seems to have already made his choice.

“I’m not going back and forth or re-thinking anything. Right now, my mind is set on leaving, so right now I’m just going to complete the rest of my time here to help my team win as much as I can,” Hosley told reporters after practice Saturday.

The 5-foot-10, 171-pound Hosley hasn’t matched the gaudy numbers he put up in 2010, but said he has matured as a player.

The Delray Beach, Fla., native has three interceptions this season after leading the country with nine during his All-American year in 2010.

“I feel like a better player. I didn’t show that, but I definitely feel like a better player as far as learning the game,” said Hosley, who missed one game this season with a hamstring injury and sat out the final three quarters of last Saturday’s ACC championship game loss to Clemson because of a concussion.

“I became a much better tackler and matured in the system.”

The 5-10, 205-pound Wilson has impressed draft experts with his numbers this season, but the Danville native said he sees pros and cons about a possible defection to the NFL.

“I definitely want to come back,” said Wilson, who has rushed for 1,627 yards and nine touchdowns this season. “College football is real fun. At the same time, the NFL is a lifetime dream. It’s like a real hard decision. If [you forced me to choose] right now and said, ‘Pick one,’ I would still stutter and be like, ‘Uh, I really don’t know.’”

The decision gets more complicated when he considers the cautionary tales of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, his former teammates who both decided to leave school early last year for the NFL.

Williams struggled through an injury-riddled junior season in 2010 before declaring for the draft. He was selected 38th overall by the Arizona Cardinals and was in the running for the starting job before suffering a season-ending knee injury during a preseason game.

Evans went undrafted and has spent much of this season on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad.

“You only get four years to play college football. And the NFL is there. It’s not going anywhere,” Wilson said. “But at the same time, you don’t want to risk getting hurt or missing out on an opportunity or anything like that.”

Wilson and Hosley both submitted paperwork last week to the NFL’s draft advisory board. The NFL provides the service to give players a general idea of where they are projected to be drafted.

Wilson’s decision could hinge on a high projection. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay ranks Wilson 24th among top 2012 draft prospects, and NFL.com ranks him second among running backs behind Alabama’s Trent Richardson.

Hosley was a projected first-rounder, 17th overall, by ESPN’s Mel Kiper before the season, but has since dropped out of the rankings.

“I plan on getting my grade back and going from there,” Hosley said. “Right now, my mind is on moving on after this season. That’s where I’m at right now.”

Read Nathan Warters’ Virginia Tech blog at VTeffect.com



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