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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jeff Risdon

Top players who opted to return to college instead of entering the 2024 NFL draft

Most of the time when college players make an announcement about their eligibility and the NFL draft, it’s them declaring they’re leaving school and entering the professional ranks. But not everyone leaves early, not even when projected as a potential first round pick.

There are a few college players who opted to stay in the college ranks instead of declaring for the 2024 NFL draft. Here are some of the bigger names who opted to stay in school.

Shedeur Sanders, QB Colorado

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sanders started out fantastic but saw his potential draft star lose some luster with injuries and his relative struggles once defenses got film on him. He’ll enter next college season as a projected top-10 overall pick in the 2025 NFL draft.

TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State

Early rumors about Henderson staying in school proved true. The big back with the quick feet might have been the top RB prospect in 2024, though some analysts are considerably lower on Henderson. Now he’ll enter the 2025 draft process as a definite top-3 back to start the next college season.

Donovan Edwards, RB, Michigan

Last seen gashing Washington’s defense for two long runs in Michigan’s win in the CFP Championship game, Edwards appeared to have a lot of momentum rolling into the draft season. However, the dynamic back will remain in Ann Arbor for another season, one without running mate Blake Corum.


Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas

Ewers was generally expected to give it another go at Texas, and that’s exactly what he did. The talented Longhorns slinger has a good chance to cement first-round status in 2025 if he plays the way he did last fall.

Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State

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Burke bounced back from an underwhelming 2022 season for the Buckeyes with a very impressive 2023. It led many to project Burke as a potential first-rounder and surefire Day 2 pick, but those projections will have to wait a year. Except to see Burke very high in preseason mocks for the 2025 draft.

Tory Horton, WR, Colorado State

Horton caught almost 100 passes for the Rams and many of those were on the receiving end of throws that wouldn’t pass muster in the NFL. Expected to be a Day 2 prospect and an early fan favorite of a lot of draftniks, Horton will be back in Fort Collins for a third year after playing his first two at Nevada.

Rod Moore, S, Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The rangy Moore stood out as one of the most pro-ready prospects in a generally thin safety class. He’ll instead chase another championship with the Wolverines.

Clemson LB Barrett Carter

Carter quickly grabbed a lot of scouting attention for how well he blends instincts and athleticism for Clemson. Despite some high Day-2 projections, he’ll be back for another season for the Tigers.

J.T Tuimoloau, EDGE, Ohio State

A big-game standout with impressive power-to-speed rush skills and tackling power, Tuimoloau is running it back for the Buckeyes. He was generally projected in the 20-40 overall range for 2024.

Georgia QB Carson Beck

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Beck is another underclassman who few actually expected to leave Georgia, but he still got some first-round projections after leading the Bulldogs to another impressive season.

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