With the rash of players and coaches bolting for the pros, another Tennessee student has left to join their ranks.
So after much thought and some motherly advice, sports editor Drew Edwards decided to forgo his two remaining senior years and enter the sportswriter's draft in May.
In a press conference in the Communications Building on Wednesday, Edwards said he knew this day would come, but even on the brink he found the decision a difficult one.
"The life of a sportswriter is tough, but I know what I'm getting into," he said. "I can't tell the number of 'complimentary' chili dog and potato chip dinners I'll have to choke down or how many incompetent hotel staffers will be waiting around the corner. But I'm prepared to overcome these obstacles. It will all be worth it if I can touch just one person with my ability."
While college life has its advantages, he said that Pabst Blue Ribbon, women and late nights with his PlayStation 2 will be waiting for him on the next level. He also said he's strongly weighing the possibility of no more classes or tests for the next 60 years.
"To get down to brass tacks, I just can't pass up the money," Edwards said in a statement released Wednesday. "The ability to one day provide for myself has always been a dream of mine. It all comes down to the bank. The millions that are available as a professional journalist could never compare to the $50 handshakes I get at Beacon staff meetings after a productive week."
Coming back just has too many risks, Edwards said.
Shelters all over the country are filled with washed-up sportswriters who stayed in college a year too long only to see their dreams shattered by carpal tunnel syndrome. Edwards has an insurance policy underwritten by former assistant sports editor Brad Shepard (himself a potential first-rounder) that would guarantee a six-pack of PBR and a carton of Parliaments a month for the next 10 years. But that's just not enough.
"I want the big bucks, bring on the Newcastle and Cubans," he said.
The draft advisory committee rated Edwards as a mid-to-late fourth-rounder, but with a strong showing at the combine he could move up.
"I don't think I'll see the second round," Edwards said. "I'm a first-rounder all the way.
"Once the scouts see me, they'll recognize that with my size and speed, I can step in and electrify any newsroom."
He's right. It's not every day you find a sportswriter that stands 6-foot-3 and can wear pants with a 36-inch waist. Edwards also said his ability to type nearly 25 words a minute should impress editors nationwide.
"I've talked to some folks who said that maybe I can win some awards if I come back next year," Edwards said. "I don't want to blow my own horn, so let's just say it starts with 'H' and ends with '-eisman.' But, as you well know, individual awards have never been important to me.
"I just want somebody to feed the horse."