The Jacksonville State junior said Friday he was giving up his final year of eligibility to prepare for the NFL draft.
“I was thinking about it at the beginning of my junior year if I had a good year I’d consider it,” said Warren, a safety. “During the year I thought I did pretty good and decided to pursue my dream.
“It really is pretty exciting. It’s hard to explain. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a while.”
There are no underlying issues that would force Warren to pursue an early entry into the draft. He said he is on track to graduate in August.
He doesn’t have an agent and is still trying to decide where he’ll do his pre-draft training.
Indications are he will be a late-round draft choice or a priority free agent.
His biggest auditions for the scouts will come at various pro days around the south.
Warren was one of the most athletic players on the Gamecocks’ improved defense this past season and one of its hardest hitters. One of his biggest hits of the year came when he clobbered Tennessee-Martin receiver Chris Thompson after a catch in the first half of JSU’s 41-27 win.
He was a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick this past season with 76 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions. He also forced a fumble, recovered three and blocked one kick.
In the Gamecocks’ three-game run through the FCS quarterfinals, he recorded 11 tackles, recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes.
“I knew he had that kind of talent and we saw it this year,” Gamecocks coach Bill Clark said. “I’m happy for him, if that’s what he wants.”
During his JSU career, Warren started 29 of the 37 games he played. He finished his career with 164 total tackles, six fumble recoveries and eight interceptions.
He said he believed his teammates were happy for him, although a couple he consulted expressed a desire for him to stay.
“I saw myself playing all four years of college ball,” he said. “After the first couple seasons I felt I should keep trying for the next level.”
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.