Oklahoma's Franks entering NFL draft

Updated: January 5, 2010, 6:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks has changed his mind and decided to enter the NFL draft, forgoing his senior year.

Franks announced his decision Tuesday after saying last month that he intended to play his senior season with the Sooners no matter what the NFL said about where he might land in the April draft. After returning home from Oklahoma's victory against Stanford in the Sun Bowl, he apparently changed his mind.

"It's what's best," Franks told ESPN's Joe Schad. "I can shut down one side of the field and I study and work hard enough to know what's coming.

"I'm going to start training today to get stronger and make sure all my techniques are great for the [NFL scouting] combine," he said.

Franks, who was selected to the All-Big 12 second team last season, had done his homework prior to making his initial decision. Besides submitting his name to the NFL for its draft evaluation process, Franks hired a law firm to screen agents months ago, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request.

In October, Oklahoma sought advice from the NCAA on whether Franks would be violating any rules by having an attorney run background checks on agents. The NFL Players Association alerted the university to ensure that agents wouldn't be jeopardizing Franks' eligibility by participating.

The NCAA told Oklahoma's compliance department that Franks' family should be careful not to market his ability or reputation and be sure to pay the going rate for the law firm's services. Franks continued to play for the Sooners (8-5), starting all 13 games and recording 47 tackles and two interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. He was also the Sooners' No. 2 punt returner.

"We wish Dom all the best and I hope at some point that he'll also be back to complete his degree," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said in a statement.

Franks joins Sooners defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in leaving early for the NFL draft. Quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, and 2008 second-team All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham also announced previously that they would enter the draft.

Bradford missed all but three games this season with a shoulder injury while Gresham was out the entire season after injuring his knee just before the season opener and then having surgery.

Running back DeMarco Murray, linebacker Travis Lewis and defensive end Jeremy Beal have also said they would consider whether to enter the draft before the Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen.

Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.