Imagine you are 21 years old and you have to choose.
You have to choose between two options that could change your life.
You can stay with the school that helped you get to where you are today and played a part in the opportunities you now have, or you can take the opportunity to live out a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL and earn millions of dollars.
Junior Tevin Coleman has to make that choice.
Don’t even try to pretend that’s easy.
The answer, though, is that nobody can tell Coleman that he should not forgo his senior season at IU for the NFL Draft.
There are so many factors in this situation that there is no black and white, right or wrong answer.
On one side, Coleman is ranked as high as the No. 25 overall draft prospect and third best running back, according to ESPN’s draft ?gurus.
A late second round pick can make as much as $4 million per year, and a mid-first rounder can be in the $9 million range.
That is life-changing money. Also, it is playing in the NFL.
On the other hand, an education is a valuable asset. There is also value in returning to the team and attempting to put together a breakout season for ?IU football.
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon was projected by ’s Dan Parr to be the first running back chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he returned one more season. He is still considered the No. 1 running back in this year’s class.
So it seems to have worked out for Gordon.
There are also insurance plans that players can buy in case their draft stock falls while in school. But those are expensive.
When my older brother was headed to North Carolina to play baseball, the insurance plans were about $30,000 per every $1 million they may lose while in school.
Schools can cover these plans, but I’m not sure how frequent of a practice that is.
Regardless of people like Gordon or Nebraska senior Ameer Abdullah that maintained their draft stock after returning to school, one cannot really recommend that someone take that risk.
Even with an insurance plan, that is the hypothetical money. A career-ending injury would ruin their dream of playing in the NFL.
I understand that these injuries or drops in draft stock may be unlikely.
The point is that Coleman has the opportunity in front of him to go play in the NFL and make life-changing money. The opportunity is there — it would be hard to mess it up between now and April.
How can anyone sitting at home tell someone to take that risk?
Back in September, Coleman made comments to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about how it is hard to get recognition at Indiana.
Us media members may have been reading into those comments too much, but one could already make the assumption that Coleman would jump at the first opportunity to leave.
Now Coleman has that recognition. He was getting Heisman Trophy talk and could be a high draft pick. Would he waste that recognition that is so difficult to get at IU?
Another key factor is how incredibly challenging it would be for Coleman to come close to matching the season he had this year.
It would be noble for Coleman to come back and play for the Hoosiers. I would respect the heck out of that decision.
It is just not fair for anyone to give him flak if he heads to the draft.
No matter what happens, I wish Coleman luck because he has been extremely fun to watch this season.
He will be an incredible professional running back.