NFL draft deadline: College football's winners and losers

Oklahoma State got a big boost when Chuba Hubbard, the nation's leading rusher, announced he would return. David Stacy/Icon Sportswire

An extended wait for college football's national championship game also pushed back the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft. But decision day has come and gone for top college players, so let's dive in.

Friday marked the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft, to be held April 23-25 in Las Vegas. College coaches know who is staying or going. Although the NCAA transfer portal remains active, most recruiting classes are signed and rosters can take shape for the 2020 season.

This list examines teams breathing a sigh of relief after the draft deadline and others that are cringing. I not only account for how many underclassmen certain teams are losing, but also whether those decisions were obvious or surprising. Teams that lose large groups of players with strong draft grades aren't automatic losers. Some teams fall in the middle, like Ohio State, Auburn, Penn State and Mississippi State did this year.

Here's the breakdown.


Oklahoma State: It's a good time to be a Cowboy fan after OSU retained its top two offensive players for the 2020 season. Wide receiver Tylan Wallace, a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2018 who tore his ACL during a late October practice, announced on New Year's Day that he would be back. Although his decision isn't a surprise, he gives Oklahoma State an established target with 139 receptions, 20 touchdowns and 2,394 receiving yards the past two seasons. The real stunner came when Chuba Hubbard, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, also decided to return. Hubbard had been Mel Kiper's No. 5 draft-eligible running back and led the nation in both rushing yards (2,094) and carries (328). Oklahoma State returns arguably the nation's top triple threat in Hubbard, Wallace and sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders.