Will Donte Moncrief leave Ole Miss early for the NFL Draft?

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief is a beloved fan favorite in Oxford, and enters his junior season with a massive amount of potential that could have him thinking about the NFL draft in 2014.

The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Moncrief exploded onto the scene vs. Texas in week three last year when he had seven receptions for 144 yards and a 75-yard touchdown, and was the Rebels best offensive weapon for quarterback Bo Wallace - who kept calm and kept feeding Moncrief.

It was the first year in Hugh Freeze’s offense and he did experience some growing pains along the way against some elite competition. He only combined for two catches for 37 yards in the games against Alabama and Georgia, but he quickly got over those struggles and closed out the season with a bang.

In the penultimate regular season game vs. LSU, Moncrief reeled in six passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns – his first ones in four weeks – and that momentum carried over into the Egg Bowl vs. Mississippi State where he had seven catches for a career-high 173 yards and a touchdowns. Even more impressive was that he was covered by Thorpe award winner Johnthan Banks for the game, and continually got the better of him.

He recorded 27 receptions for 439 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games of the season, and finished the season with 66 receptions, 979 yards and 10 touchdowns, but it’s his performance at the close of the season that should have Rebels fans thinking an All-American season is in store in 2013.

However, as exciting as that would be to see Moncrief dominate this coming season, it may also mean this will be his last season in Oxford, because he will have put himself in position to be a high draft pick in the NFL. If I’m Moncrief, I would put off the NFL until after my senior season in 2014, and not risk walking away with unfinished business on my plate to raise my stock even more.

Perhaps Moncrief considers declaring early to cash in on the millions that await him at the next level, but I have a feeling Rebel Nation will make it awfully difficult for him to leave with another year of eligibility left.

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Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on Sportstownchicago.com airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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