Decision looms for Bernard
Posted November 25, 2012
Updated November 26, 2012
Just how good is Gio Bernard?
Chapter and verse have been written already about Carolina's star running back this season, so I'll limit my answer to one observation: Throughout Saturday's game, I kept thinking Maryland was doing a decent job of containing him - and he still rushed for 163 yards.
That's pretty good by any standard. Slideshow: North Carolina ends season with a win
But with that kind of talent comes a big-time decision. As a redshirt sophomore, Bernard is now eligible for the NFL Draft.
So a decision looms.
I have no idea if Gio has ever heard of The Clash, but "Should I stay or should I go" is exactly what he has to be wrestling with right now.
Bernard did not participate in pre-game Senior Day festivities, so he's not tipping his hand yet. He also didn't come out for post-game interviews, but a UNC spokesperson said that was because he played the game with the flu and was feeling ill.
As for his draft stock, I've seen him projected as a first-rounder in some places, and a second-rounder in others. The validity of those projections might be what tips the scale for his decision.
The pros for leaving are obvious: Cash in now while you can, and you're healthy. Think about Marcus Lattimore. It would be hard to turn down a sure-fire spot in the first round for another year of college.
As for the cons, Bernard might be able to improve his draft status with another great season next year. Weighing the opportunity cost of this season's would-be earnings against potentially higher earnings next year is something Bernard will surely do. Injury insurance is an option. And there's also the possibility of a Heisman Trophy run. If Bernard plays himself into consideration next year, what would that be worth in terms of endorsements?
To be honest, I think the odds are we've seen Gio's last collegiate football game. But it's not a certainty yet, and his will be an interesting decision either way.