Following the 2015 football season, Louisiana Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah McGuire had a serious decision to make. He could announce he was returning for his senior season, or he could look into his draft status and decide if early entry into the NFL draft was a better idea.
The 2015 season did not go as well as expected for the junior individually or as a team, but the decision had to be made based completely on what was best for his future. He had to factor in whether he was ready to make the jump or if he needed another year in college.
McGuire also had to factor in the sad truth that too many underclassmen make a bad decision and go pro too early. In the 2015 draft alone, 24 underclassmen went undrafted. That list included Jacoby Glenn (UCF), Chris Hackett (TCU), Jean Sifrin (UMass), Deontay Greenberry (Houston), Ellis McCarthy (UCLA), and B.J. Catalon (TCU).
After receiving feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, McGuire made the tough decision to stay with the Ragin' Cajuns for his senior season.
Cheers to my senior season!!— Elijah McGuire (@Mr_Adversityy) January 11, 2016
McGuire noted later in the day that the tweet meant he was coming back for his senior season at Louisiana.
Here are five reasons that was a great decision:
1. Another Year Of Game Film: By playing at the college level one more season, McGuire will have one more season of game film for NFL scouts to study. He has the chance to improve his draft status and earn a spot in the middle rounds of the 2017 draft. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield could do wonders for his future. It will also give NFL teams a chance to really figure out where he fits at the next level.
2. Another Year In College: The star running back gets one more year to enjoy the college life before making the move to professional football. One can never underestimate how important another season of college life can be to a player's future, personally and professionally. While McGuire does spend a ton of time on football in college, the commitment level of professional football is at a much higher rate. It is nice to take that senior year and really enjoy the fun parts of college life before heading to the league.
3. Team And Individual Return To Glory: Anyone that watched the Ragin' Cajuns in 2015 saw a team that struggled for a variety of reasons. A depleted offensive line struggled to open holes and the passing game did not play very well at all, save Jamal Robinson. 2016 is an important season with McGuire needing to show his leadership skills as a senior. The running back would want nothing more than to end his college career with another bowl berth and an outstanding 2016 season.
4. Injury Concerns: Whether it is a real issue or not, McGuire has to prove he isn't injury prone. From the beginning of the 2015 season, McGuire was fighting injuries that should have cost him at least a game or two. He fought through, showing impressive toughness, because his play was one of the few things that kept Louisiana in many games. McGuire needs to show the NFL that the injuries of 2015 were a fluke and that he can stay healthy in 2016.
5. Setting All-Time Records: McGuire currently sits at 3,174 yards and 35 rushing touchdowns for his career. He is fourth behind Brian Mitchell, Tyrell Fenroy, and Alonzo Harris in career rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. A season with 1,472 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns would make him the all-time leader in both categories. He has been one of the best running backs in school history and it would be great to see him end his career with both of those school records.
Whatever happens in his senior season, I have to believe that the NFL will give McGuire a chance. He is making the right decision in coming back for himself and selfishly for all of us.