At the end of his senior season, Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel had a choice to make. He could continue his pursuit of a fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA to stay another year in Pullman or move on and declare himself a candidate for the NFL Draft. When the NCAA continued to push Tuel with questions regarding his treatment by Paul Wulff's staff, it made the decision an easy one and he dropped the appeal.
As I wrote a month ago, you can hardly blame the guy. Without the guarantee he'd be the starter next season, there was no reason for him to even attempt to come back. With the high probability another season playing collegiate football would actually hurt his draft stock, Tuel made the sensible choice and declared. As part of his preparation for the NFL Draft in late April, Tuel was invited to participate in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
Tuel could use a lot of help climbing the draft ladders. CBS Sports ranks Tuel the 19th best quarterback prospect in the draft with a projected selection in the seventh round to free agency. NFL Draft Scout thinks a little better of Tuel, ranking him the 18th best quarterback prospect in the draft. Had Tuel been healthier over the last four seasons he might be rated a little better but it is what it is.
Tuel is easily the best quarterback on the National Team, coming in at 6'2.6" tall and 221 pounds when measured earlier this week. He'll sit ahead of Ryan Higgins from Fordham and Dayne Crist from Kansas (Charlie Weis lulz) for Dick Vermeil's squad. Lucky for Tuel, he won't be on the American Team coached by Herm Edwards who will inevitably be yelling at his team about something. Probably lottery numbers. Not sure why though.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl still has a ways to go in terms of recognition. It's getting better every year but Tuel will only have one receiver from an FBS school to throw to in Myles White from Louisiana Tech. It will still be an opportunity for Tuel to show off his skills to NFL Scouts thanks to its affiliation with the players association and it's rarely a bad thing to play in a post season all-star game for seniors or draft eligible juniors and redshirt sophomores.
Fret not if you thought you wouldn't be able to see Tuel in action on Saturday. The game starts at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2 which I believe is available on most cable and satellite providers. If you won't be anywhere near a television, I'll be at the game and you can follow me on Twitter right over here. You should follow for other reasons though. I mean, none come to mind now but I'm sure I'll think of something.