COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Three Texas A&M juniors will be faced with a decision in January: stay or go.
Offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews and defensive end Damontre Moore will have to decide whether to apply for early entry into the 2013 NFL draft or stay in Aggieland for one more season of college football.
Some projections have all three going in the first round of the draft and even have Joeckel and Moore going in the top five of the draft. ESPN's Todd McShay had Moore going No. 2, Joeckel going at No. 4 and Matthews at No. 15 in his first mock draft. While their decisions aren't yet made, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin assumes a role of assistance to the three -- as well as all of his seniors -- by providing information to help them along the way.
"My role is to provide them with as much factual information as I can get my hands on," Sumlin said. "Not stuff you read on -- now don't take this wrong -- not stuff you read in the paper or see on ESPN, but actual factual information that will be presented by the NFL. We've sent those requests in to the NFL, what the situation would be for insurance policies if they decided to stay, present everything that's out there. I've told all three of them, 'It's my job to provide you with as much information as I can get my hands on for you and your family, and then if you want my opinion I will tell you.'"
Sumlin dealt with the situation at Houston after the completion of quarterback Case Keenum's junior season, when Keenum considered whether to enter the draft before electing to return for a senior season. When Sumlin was an assistant coach at Oklahoma, it was something the Sooners dealt with annually, giving Sumlin experience in these situations.
"At Oklahoma this was an every-year deal when I was there, between Mark Clayton who played himself higher into the first round and decided to come back," Sumlin said. "Tommie Harris -- it was time to go. Adrian Peterson -- time to go. Other guys played themselves from low first-round picks or the television projection was not the projection that you got back from the NFL, so guys played themselves solidly into certain positions."
Sumlin said the talks with his juniors about their situations are ongoing.
"Those discussions are ongoing at this point and what we're doing is providing the families and these guys with as much information as possible, and I think that's our role," Sumlin said. "And as I've said before, what that means is, to have that discussion as a junior means that you're playing at an extremely high level and that means that you have really helped us thus far and now the decision is 'What do I need to do?' There is the college experience, the collegiate experience factor that's involved because from here on out, it becomes a job. It's work."