KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) One day after announcing plans to forgo his senior season for the NFL draft, Tennessee receiver Donte Stallworth changed his mind, according to his mother.
Donna Stallworth said her son told coach Phillip Fulmer of his desire to stay in school during a Friday meeting.
“He just said it didn”t feel right and that the coaches were looking into it to see if there was anything that could be done,” Donna Stallworth told the Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean.
Stallworth, a junior from Sacramento, Calif., has already submitted his paperwork to the NFL office for early entry into the draft, which makes the receiver”s desire to return to Volunteer football a bit more complicated.
NCAA rules say a college player loses amateur status when he asks to be placed on the draft list of a professional athletic league even if he asks to withdraw his name prior to the draft.
Tennessee officials were checking Friday to see if the paperwork could be rescinded, the newspaper said.
Malcolm McInnis, Tennessee”s associate athletic director for compliance, said Saturday he had not been asked to check Stallworth”s amateur status with the NCAA or request an appeal.
“If there”s an interest in that, it”s something we”d look at,” he said.
He didn”t know if Stallworth”s name had been placed on the official draft list, and he wasn”t aware of any Tennessee player ever declaring for the draft and then asking for his eligibility to be reinstated.
“I have never thought about that issue because it”s never come up,” he said.
Another key element is whether Stallworth has entered into any kind of agreement with an agent a move that would also make him ineligible for another season of college ball.
Donna Stallworth told The Tennessean Friday that her son had not signed with an agent.
Fulmer on Saturday declined comment to The Associated Press, and Stallworth could not be reached.
Stallworth and junior defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth both announced their intentions to turn pro Thursday, submitting paperwork by Friday”s 4 p.m. deadline. Freshman receiver Kelley Washington, however, said he is staying for another year.
Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen said he knew his friend was having second thoughts when they ate lunch together Thursday afternoon.
“There”s just something that wasn”t right about that whole deal,” Clausen said.
Stallworth missed three games early this season with a broken wrist but finished the season with his best statistics yet. He had 41 catches for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. In two games, he had three touchdown receptions.
Stallworth”s announcement on Thursday surprised some including Fulmer who think his draft chances would be better next year.
“I can only hope that his draft status is such that it justifies him passing on his senior year of college,” Fulmer said in a statement released after Stallworth”s announcement.