Stafford, Moreno leave Georgia for draft

Updated: January 7, 2009, 10:04 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno, who led the SEC in passing and rushing this season, respectively, announced Wednesday afternoon that they will enter April's NFL draft.

Starting over

If Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno forgo their senior year of eligibility, Georgia won't have to face the expectations and hype in 2009 that it did last fall, Chris Low writes. Blog
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Stafford | Moreno

Moreno had been leaning toward entering the NFL draft, but Stafford had wrestled with his decision for several days.

"Taking off the pads for the last time was really tough," Stafford said. "That was the toughest part for me, the fact that it came to a head that it was really over, but I know this was the right decision for me."

Stafford, a junior from Highland Park, Texas, might be the first player selected in the draft, according to Todd McShay, director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. who also does NFL draft analysis for ESPN.

The strong-armed passer set a Georgia single-season record with 25 touchdown passes this season. He threw for 3,459 yards this season, the second-best total in school history, and ranked 15th nationally in pass efficiency.

"Matthew Stafford drives NFL scouts crazy because he's got it all," McShay said. "He has it all. Prototypical size, a rifle arm."

Moreno, a sophomore from Bedford, N.J., ran for 1,338 yards and 16 touchdowns before the Bulldogs' 24-12 win over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. He became the first Georgia player since 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker to run for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Moreno was redshirted at Georgia in 2006, so he is eligible to enter the draft after playing only two seasons with the Bulldogs.

Moreno is expected to be one of the top two running backs selected in the NFL draft, along with Ohio State junior Chris "Beanie" Wells, should he decide to enter. Wells hasn't yet announced whether he'll return to school for his senior season.

Moreno leaves Georgia with 2,769 career yards rushing with 32 touchdowns (30 rushing, two receiving), not including the Capital One Bowl performance.

After the two announced their decisions, Georgia coach Mark Richt offered advice for NFL executives: "Trade up for them, if you're smart."

"I think whichever NFL teams get them will be very excited and very blessed by it," Richt said. "They'll not only be good players but they'll be good in their locker rooms and good in their communities. They're gonna do well."

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Schlabach | email

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