Bronco Beat

Report: Boise State back Jeremy McNichols leaving early for NFL; mom says not so fast

Boise State junior Jeremy McNichols no doubt has the potential to be the school’s fourth straight player drafted early into the NFL.

The question is, will it happen in 2017 or 2018?

Tony Pauline of reported Friday that McNichols will forgo his senior year and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

Reached by the Idaho Statesman following the report, McNichols’ mother, Dametra, said, “No, our family has not made a final decision.”

The Broncos were practicing when the report came out, and Boise State has not made any statement on McNichols’ future. Coaches and players have not been made available since Sunday. Boise State plays Baylor in the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix on Dec. 27.

McNichols has rushed for 1,663 yards this season, No. 5 in the nation, and is No. 1 with 27 total touchdowns. He has been named second-team All-Mountain West the last two seasons.

Pauline rated him in late October as a third-round pick, USA Today did a seven-round mock draft and has him going in the fifth, and CBS Sports ranks him the No. 5 running back with a second-round grade.

If he does declare, McNichols will join a loaded class at running back, with fellow juniors Leonard Fournette (LSU), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) and D’Onta Foreman (Texas) already announcing they will enter the draft.

Last year, Pauline wrote Dec. 11 that Boise State defensive end/linebacker Kamalei Correa would leave early for the NFL. The Statesman reported the news Dec. 20. The next day in the Poinsettia Bowl, he earned MVP honors, and said afterward he needed to speak with his family first. The following day, it was announced that Correa was leaving Boise State.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence declared early and was drafted in the 2014 second round by the Cowboys, running back Jay Ajayi left after his junior season and was taken in the fifth round of the 2015 draft by the Dolphins, and Correa was taken in the second round this year by the Ravens.

Asked late last month if he’d given thought to the NFL or made a decision, McNichols said he had done neither.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_BroncoBeat