There was a great deal of uncertainty heading into Dezmon Briscoe's press conference on Friday afternoon regarding his decision to enter the NFL Draft. Sure, everybody knew Briscoe was going to leave early, that had been heavily rumored all season. No, the big question was if Briscoe, who had skipped almost every single media session of the entire season, was even going to show up to his own press conference. Seriously.
"I really hope he makes it," one KU official said.
Briscoe though, came through. Wearing his Insight Bowl warmup gear, the junior wide receiver announced to the world that he would be leaving Kansas a year early to enter the NFL Draft. Briscoe will finish his three-year career as the school's all-time receiving yardage leader with 3,240 yards and a slew of other school records.
While Briscoe made his decision public today, it was last night when Briscoe went around the room at the Anderson Football Complex and gave his goodbyes to teammates during a team meeting to announce the resignation of head coach Mark Mangino.
"It's sad, but not to the point that I am going to cry about it, but the people that I know and love aren't going to be there anymore," Briscoe said. "I am going to have to start over in life."
The wide receiver met with Mangino on Monday to get the coach's blessing on Briscoe's decision. Briscoe said it was the last time he had spoken to the embattled head coach. Even with all the troubles Mangino has had with the investigation regarding his abrasive coaching style, Briscoe will always be thankful Mangino gave him a chance to play football.
"I just felt the stuff that I did, other head coaches in the nation would've booted me off the team," Briscoe said.
Mangino and Briscoe have had an up and down relationship during Briscoe's career at Kansas. But recently, Mangino had stated publicly that he had noticed a new sense of maturity in Briscoe this season.
"Dezmon had a great career here at Kansas and had a lot of outstanding achievements," Mangino said in a statement. "Dezmon and his family are ready for the challenge of the NFL. Dez will be highly successful and I wish him nothing but the very best."
Briscoe was suspended for the first game of this season for missing classes the previous semester. Still, even with his previous academic troubles, his mother, Shannon Greene, said her son would've been academically eligible for his senior season. Like Mangino, Greene has noticed a difference in how her son carries himself this year.
"Even in his interviews and his comments, I am like, 'Okay, he has really grown up.,'" Greene said.
Even though Briscoe is uncertain as to how many academic hours he needs to graduate, he said he made a promise to his mom to one day go back and get his degree. If he doesn't, well, he'll have to suffer the consequences.
"I am probably too old for this, but she'll probably give me a whooping," Briscoe said.
Briscoe still hasn't hired an agent yet, and is looking to start training soon in Tampa, Florida with former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant in preparation for the NFL Combine next February.
Offensive line coach John Reagan will be helping Briscoe through the process, and Briscoe has gotten reports back that he is being looked at as a late first round or early second round selection.
"I feel like if I improve my 40 time at the combine that it will help my stock out a whole lot," Briscoe said.
Briscoe said he first started thinking about leaving early after his impressive showing in the Insight Bowl last season. After his last game against Missouri on Saturday, he talked with former Kansas player and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib. The two have stayed close since Talib took him under his wing when Briscoe arrived as a freshman in 2007. On Saturday, Talib gave him advice on what to do next.
"He told me that I had a good year there and I had nothing left to prove in college football," Briscoe said.