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Sunday’s football: Coaches want later NFL draft deadline

Associated Press

Alabama coach Nick Saban and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney say they would like the NFL to push back the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft.

Underclassmen have until Jan. 18 to file declaration papers with the NFL. That will leave the players competing in tonight’s College Football Playoff championship game just a week to make their decisions.

Underclassmen can request a draft evaluation from the NFL and those grades are usually received during college football’s postseason. Saban said he would prefer the NFL not provide its evaluations to players until after they are done competing.

“Now, if you finish your season on Dec. 6, you can make a decision,” Saban said Sunday during a news conference with Swinney.

Swinney said he knows which Clemson underclassmen will be leaving early, even those who have not announced.

“It’s one of the things that I don’t like the timing of all that stuff, but it is what it is, so no sense in acting like it’s not there,” Swinney said.

Extra points

Swinney expects defensive end Shaq Lawson to play tonight.

Lawson hurt his left knee early in the Tigers’ 37-17 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Lawson said Saturday there’s still pain, but he wanted to play in the game.

... Clemson’s suspended freshman receiver Deon Cain has enrolled in classes. He was sent home from the Orange Bowl for violating team rules.

... Running back Alex Collins says he is leaving Arkansas after his junior season and declaring for the NFL draft.