Auburn tailback Tre Mason, Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and a quartet of Alabama players — left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, linebacker Adrian Hubbard and defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan — are entering the NFL draft.
Mason, who helped power the Tigers into the national championship game and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting, is projected as a likely mid-round draft pick. He said he received a third-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board.
Mason broke Bo Jackson’s 28-year-old school single-season record with 1,816 yards.
“It was a dream since I was young,” Mason said. “I’m a dream chaser, and I’m just trying to make a dream into reality.”
Jernigan was the anchor of the Florida State defensive line. He was a second-team All-America selection and had 63 tackles, including a team-high 11 for loss, and 4 1/2 sacks.
Kouandjio and Clinton-Dix are widely projected as first-round picks. Hubbard and Pagan also could be early- to mid-round selections.
Louisville: Bobby Petrino is back for a second stint as Louisville’s football coach.
Petrino, the former Arkansas coach who coached Western Kentucky to an 8-4 record last season in his only year with the team, led the Cardinals to a 41-9 mark from 2003-06. He succeeds Charlie Strong, who took the Texas job.
Garrick McGee stepped down as UAB coach after agreeing to become Petrino’s offensive coordinator at Louisville. McGee was 5-19 in two seasons.
Offensive coordinators on the move: Former Tennessee and USC coach Lane Kiffin is being considered by Alabama to replace offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, a source told The Associated Press.
Nussmeier was hired as offensive coordinator by Michigan on Thursday.
Kiffin has been out of work since late September after being fired by USC, where he was 28-15 in three-plus seasons. He spent a week in Tuscaloosa, Ala., last month exchanging ideas with Crimson Tide coaches and watching practices..
Staying in school: Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller are returning for their senior seasons.
Abdullah ran for more than 1,800 yards as a junior. Miller passed for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns with seven interceptions and ran for 1,068 yards and 12 scores.
Noteworthy: Wide receiver DaVaris Daniels is not enrolled at Notre Dame for the spring semester because of academic problems. ... Ty Montgomery of Stanford was named winner of the Jet Award as the top return specialist in college football. ... Former Lenoir-Rhyne coach Mike Houston was named to lead The Citadel’s program. ... Arizona State hired former NFL executive Ray Anderson as its new athletic director.