JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NFL season isn’t over yet but it’s already NFL draft season.
The early entry deadline passed Monday and the NFL sent out the official list of early entrants on Friday. This year has a larger number of local players who have declared for the draft or who are eligible for it.
Iowa State receiver Xavier Hutchinson, a Bartram Trail graduate, is likely the top local prospect at this point in the cycle. Miami tight end Will Mallory (Providence), UAB running back DeWayne McBride (Bradford/Fleming Island/Ocala Vanguard), Georgia offensive tackle Warren McClendon (Brunswick) and Liberty receiver Demario Douglas (Mandarin/Menendez) are four other local draft prospects who are potential selections over the three-day draft.
Hutchinson was a Biletnikoff Award finalist in his final season and earned AP and Pro Football Focus first-team All-American honors. He led the Big 12 in receptions and set an Iowa State record with 107 catches. Hutchinson had 1,171 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a senior. Hutchinson took the junior college route out of Bartram Trail, shining at Blinn and then signing with the Cyclones after that.
Douglas had his best season in 2022 for the Flames, catching 79 passes for 993 yards and six touchdowns.
McBride, who played at Bradford and Fleming Island his first two seasons in high school before finishing at Vanguard in Ocala, led the country with 1,713 rushing yards and scored 19 touchdowns. He was named the C-USA offensive player of the year.
Mallory had 115 catches for 1,544 yards and 14 touchdowns at Miami. He ended his career tied with Clive Walford for most touchdown catches in program history. He is second to Walford in receptions and yards by a tight end.
McClendon and Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (Pierce County) are two intriguing Peach State alums to watch.
Early entrants like Douglas, McBride and McClendon have until Feb. 3 to opt out of the draft and return to school.
The NFL draft is April 27-29.
Local products who have declared or are eligible for NFL draft
Pos., Player, College, Local tie (*early entry)
QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia, Pierce County
DB Isaiah Bolden, Jackson State, Bartram Trail/Wesley Chapel
OL Brad Cecil, USF, Bartram Trail
CB Chamarri Conner, Virginia Tech, Trinity Christian
WR Demario Douglas, Liberty, Mandarin/Menendez*
QB Ivory Durham, Valdosta State, Raines
OT Cooper Hodges, Appalachian State, Baker County
WR Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State, Bartram Trail
LB Dequan Jackson, Colorado State, Lee
LB Bradley Jennings Jr., Indiana, Sandalwood
TE Will Mallory, Miami, Providence
WR DJ Matthews, Indiana, Trinity Christian/First Coast
RB DeWayne McBride, UAB, Fleming Island/Bradford*
OT Warren McClendon, Georgia, Brunswick*
DL Deon Pate, Illinois, Trinity Christian
K Jack Podlesny, Georgia, Glynn Academy
DB Nick Roberts, SMU, Oakleaf
CB Ameer Speed, Michigan State, Sandalwood
Note: Other players may still be added to the list of prospects as the draft approaches.