Jan. 12, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State’s football program will not lose any underclassmen to the NFL draft this spring as rising seniors Chris Hope, Bradley Jennings and Atrews Bell all announced Friday they would return to play for the Seminoles next season. Despite the fact that FSU had more players on NFL rosters this season (38) than any other school, the `Noles have had just two players (Sebastian Janikowski, Larry Smith) leave school early for the NFL draft over the last four seasons.
“I still have unfinished business at Florida State and I’m coming back for my senior year,” said Hope, who was a first team Academic All-American at free safety. “Completing my degree is important to me. I’ll also have a chance to show my leadership skills because our team will be younger than it has been. Some people are suggesting we’ll be down next year because we’ve lost so many seniors. Our talent level will not drop off that much, but we do lose a lot of experience. We are determined to keep the dynasty alive.”
Atrews Bell, who was FSU’s second leading receiver in 2000 and scored 11 touchdowns, also will remain at FSU. “I explored what my potential was with the NFL because I thought I owed it to myself to make a good decision. I am returning for my senior season and I know that all of the seniors in our class will have a challenge in keeping the streak alive. I’m ready to step up both on the field and in the leadership role.”
Jennings was one of three linebackers to accumulate over 100 tackles during the season for the Seminoles, and he has started every game at middle linebacker over the last two seasons.
“I’m pleased that we won’t be losing anybody early,” said head coach Bobby Bowden. “We have not had a player yet who hurt himself by coming back. In fact, our players have significantly improved their draft status by returning. They’ve got a chance to earn their degrees and enjoy a senior season that is a very special time. There are those cases where going early to the NFL works out, but those are very rare when you look at it nationally.”
Florida State will have 16 seniors on the roster when spring practice begins in March.