Irish underclassmen play it coy about NFL futures

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Notre Dame players went home Thursday to spend some time with their families before heading down to Dallas on Sunday. While they're home, several of them are going to have some thinking to do.

Thinking about the NFL, that is.

There are 12 juniors on the Irish roster that see significant playing time and conceivably could make the decision to leave school early and enter the NFL Draft.

However, Notre Dame is only allowed to submit five names to the NFL Draft Advisory Board for evaluation, and Irish head coach Brian Kelly played it coy about which names he submitted.

A safe bet for two of the names is junior quarterback Ian Book and junior cornerback Julian Love, arguably the best player on each side of the ball.

Love was recently named a consensus All-American, and Book was voted Team MVP, and is one of the most accurate passers in college football.

However, when asked about their pro plans, both gave the company line.

"I kind of just stepped back from the process a bit," Love said. "I'm not really focused on that. Kind of just worried about Clemson really."

"Obviously I dream about the NFL and want to play there, but we've got some unfinished business this year so I don't think about it too much," Book said. "It's somewhere I want to go and that should fall into place. The timing for that will be whatever it is, but I'm just focused on Clemson right now."

The deadline for college players to declare for the NFL Draft is January 14th.