Thursday, January 5, 2012

Worthy forgoes senior season for NFL (w/ video)

No surprise. Even before the season started, it seemed like a sure bet Worthy would head to the NFL early.

After an All-American campaign and a bowl win, Worthy made the decision to skip his senior season.

Mark Dantonio said he talked with general managers, scouts and coaches after receiving feedback from the NFL and the the general consensus among everyone he talked with was that Worthy is a top-50 player and probably will be selected in the first round.

Worthy said he made his decision after the bowl win and thought it was a good way to go out. Had the Spartans not won that game, both Worthy and his mother said it was likely Worthy would have stayed. Worthy's mother said Jerel felt like he owed Dantonio a bowl win.

The health of his parents was a big factor. Worthy's mother said she has some health issues, and Worthy's father had a stroke in the spring of 2010 and was paralyzed on the left side. Worthy said his father is slowly progressing, but he would like to get him the proper therapy to improve things quicker. Worthy's mother said there are issues with medicare for both parents.

"He said, 'I'm going to take care of you. Just hold on a little longer,'" Stephanie Worthy said. "Once he got the call about his dad, I think that pushed him even harder to work hard and to succeed with what he wanted to do. I never really had time with my son. Off-time, he was in the gym somewhere. Believe me, he's pushed himself to get here."

As for everything else, Worthy thanked all of his coaches and teammates (many of whom attended the announcement) and said he was a Spartan for life. On Twitter, he said he would return to East Lansing as much as he can. He's not moving on and forgetting where he came from.

As for MSU, Dantonio joked that Worthy owes him a defensive lineman now. MSU will lose both its starting defensive tackles, but redshirted six linemen this season. So now the replacements must be found. Anthony Rashad White surely will move into a starting role and Worthy expects him to be the leader of the group.

Worthy is set to graduate in May, and his mother will make sure that happens, even if agents have to fly him back to East Lansing.

So congrats to Jerel. From a three-star recruit to skipping his senior season, hopefully he can find success in the NFL and get the help for his family.

Also of note, Dantonio was asked about defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi's flirtation with Texas A&M. Dantonio would not answer, saying the day was about Worthy.

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