STANFORD Tight End University is graduating two more of its finest.
All-American Zach Ertz and fellow redshirt junior Levine Toilolo announced Monday they would forgo their final year of eligibility at Stanford to enter the NFL draft.
While the moves had been somewhat expected, the Cardinal's recent run of success and the emergence of quarterback Kevin Hogan made both consider returning for one more run at a national title.
"Kevin's special, man. All those guys coming back on defense, I think they're going to be one of the best teams in the country next year," Ertz said by phone. "They're going to be really good. But at the same time, I have to do what's best for me and my family at this time. I couldn't pass up the opportunity."
Luke Kaumatule and Devon Cajuste will be in the mix to replace both next season. Standout fullback Ryan Hewitt also has played tight end sparingly, and Stanford coach David Shaw said last week that tight ends have been his biggest focus in recruiting.
After all, the two are the latest Cardinal tight ends to head to the NFL.
Coby Fleener was drafted 34th overall by the Indianapolis Colts last year. Jim Dray (2010) is playing for the Arizona Cardinals and Konrad Reuland (2011) for the New York Jets.
"Stanford's had a lot of great tight ends for sure," Ertz said. "Guys like Jim and Konrad really started it lately, and I'm just thankful to have been a part of it."
Ertz, a 6-foot-6, 252-pounder, submitted paperwork to the NFL to gauge where he could be selected. He's expected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick in April.
Toilolo's departure is based more on his potential than production. He's not nearly as polished as Ertz, but at 6-8 and 265 pounds, Toilolo's size is hard to ignore.
Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Kenny Stills declared themselves eligible for the NFL draft, as did Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
Nevada School athletic officials said they have reached an agreement with Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian to become the Wolf Pack's next coach.
President Marc Johnson and athletic director Cary Groth said in a statement the deal is subject to approval later this week by the state Board of Regents. But they said they agree Polian is the man to replace longtime Nevada coach Chris Ault, who announced his retirement last month.
Oregon The school did not formally announce coach Chip Kelly's decision to remain with the Ducks for the school, his status hadn't changed; he's still the head coach but athletic director Rob Mullens told reporters he was obviously "ecstatic" about it.
Kelly, who flirted with three NFL teams over three days before deciding to remain at Oregon, was at a coaches' convention in Tennessee on Monday.