Monday, January 5, 2009

UNC receiver Nicks to turn pro

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, holder of 14 North Carolina records, won't be returning to set any more.

The junior from Charlotte has decided to forego his senior season and declare early for the NFL, the school announced. He's the first star Tar Heels football player to do so since Julius Peppers went early after the 2001 season.

“I have decided to file the paperwork necessary to enter the 2009 NFL Draft,” Nicks said in a prepared statement. “I met with coach (Butch) Davis after the game and I appreciate the feedback he gave me and the support he has provided during the decision-making process. His contacts in the NFL are invaluable.”

Nicks' records include career receptions (181), career receiving yards (2,580) and career touchdowns (21). In his junior season, he was named first-team All-ACC after catching 68 passes for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is the only player in North Carolina history with more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season.

“I spoke to several different NFL people on Hakeem’s behalf before the bowl game, including coaches, general managers, owners, and position coaches,” coach Butch Davis, who coached 10 years in the NFL with Dallas and Cleveland, said in a prepared statement. “We also submitted paperwork to the NFL advisory committee. I shared all of this information with Hakeem in Charlotte after the bowl game and I know he is making a thoughtful and informed decision. I believe he has the physical and mental makeup to be a productive NFL player for many years. We will always be thankful to Hakeem for what he has done for this program and the exciting times he provided the Carolina fans.”

Nicks had five 100-plus yard receiving games this season, when North Carolina finished 8-5. The only three-year player in ACC history with more career receiving yards than Nicks is former Georgia Tech All-America and 2007 NFL first-round pick Calvin Johnson.

- Robbi Pickeral


Anonymous said...

Wish he would still be on the board when the Panthers pick, but doubtful he lasts that long.

Rabbit said...

He may be on the board at the end of the 2nd round. The trend has become to not pick receivers early.

But, after ruling sportscenter highlights, his stock is rising.

Anonymous said...

If you are a Junior and will be drafted in the first 3 Rounds you have to declare for the NFL early. Too much of a risk to play your Senior year in college and risk a career ending injury or any injury which will make your stock fall.....

Anonymous said...

He would be a great addition for the Panthers. If Musin would stay another year and be this kids mentor he could be an amazing receiver in the NFL for many years. On top of being a great college receiver he is a great kid and I would be proud to have my children meet him at Panthers camp one day.

Anonymous said...

After he goes through the combine and all of his measureables are noted, there is no way he lasts into the second round.

Kevin said...

His measureables aren't all that great, which is why hes projected so low. If it was based on his play alone, he would be a mid to late first rounder.

Steve Smith was a 3rd round pick.