LSU coach Les Miles believes there are athletes that can advance to the NFL early, but mentioned that type of athlete is a rare breed.
Miles said the college game gives a player an opportunity to develop the necessary traits to increase his draft stock once he decides to go pro.
“I think that there’s probably guys that could enter the draft just like basketball, one and out,” Miles said during his SEC teleconference. “I think there’s a style of athlete that can do that. But I think they’re rare because in football, with maturity and strength, it really adds to their worth in what is the next level and the next league.”
Perhaps this isn’t a coincidence, but Miles might have that rare athlete on his current roster. Many experts think tailback Leonard Fournette is ready to go pro as only a sophomore. Fournette’s stats back up that belief. He leads the nation in rushing with an average of 193.1 yards per game and has been the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy for several weeks.
However, Miles said that many athletes need the time and experience in college to develop physically, mentally and emotionally for the professional level.
“I think if you found those guys that leave early, most of them they either came from major programs or they’re guys that become with a discipline and a structure that was given to them, whether it’s home or their high school or some place else,” Miles said. “I think college, for the most part football, gives a young player that needs to develop that opportunity.”