Someone was stupid enough to throw Amari's way.
According to friend of the blog Adam Rittenberg, the completely unsurprising (but still disappointing) news of the day is that Amari Spievey will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. The scuttlebutt had been leaning that way for weeks, and only the hope that Spievey would be swayed by his mother's desire to see him get a college degree or the possibility that another year in Iowa's dominating defense would boost his draft stock into the first round. Unlike fellow early-entrant Bryan Bulaga, Spievey isn't projected as a first-round pick -- he's currently ranked the fourth-best junior cornerback ($) by Mel Kiper. But there's real doubt about whether or not an additional year in college would significantly boost Spievey's stock. It's not as if there will be that much more film of him pwning opposing receivers; teams largely avoided his side of the field entirely (with the game-changing exception of Scott Tolzien -- thanks, Scott!) and there's little reason to suspect that teams would change that approach next year. And cornerbacks live or die by their performances at Pro Days and the NFL Combine more than most positions -- if Spievey can show off top-end speed there, he'll do far more for his draft stock than another year terrorizing Big Ten secondaries could ever do.
Spievey was part of the Class of 2006 that's been the core of the team the past two years as Iowa's gone 20-6 and won the 2010 Orange Bowl (also in that class -- Ricky Stanzi, Adrian Clayborn, DJK, AJ Edds, Jeremiha Hunter, Ryan Donahue, Karl Klug, and Julian Vandervelde). Spievey was one of the most lightly-regarded members of that class (Rivals and Scout both had him as a 2-star recruit, and Rutgers and Wisconsin were his only other major offers) and hardly seemed destined to be the latest Iowa diamond in the rough after redshirting and flunking out in 2006 and spending 2007 in junior college. His return in 2008 was met with a shrug -- until he won one of the starting corner back spots from presumed favorite Jordan Bernstine. Spievey went on to start every game for the past two years, getting second-team all-Big Ten honors last year and first-team all-Big Ten honors this season. Last year, he racked up 68 tackles and four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown in the epic 55-0 dismantling of Minnesota. This year, Spievey had 56 tackles and only two interceptions as quarterbacks simply pretended his side of the field didn't exist.
Although arriving as an afterthought, Spievey leaves Iowa as perhaps the best corner back of the Ferentz Era -- not only a devastatingly sure tackler in run coverage, but perhaps the closest Iowa has come to having a true "shutdown corner" in pass coverage. Jordan Bernstine will enter spring ball as the presumptive favorite to replace him (the third consecutive spring he's entered as the presumptive favorite for one of the starting corner back spots; third time's the charm?), but he'll have deep shoes to fill. Good luck at the next level, Amari, and thanks for spending two years striking fear into the hearts of Big Ten quarterbacks.