Tom Wort leaves OU, declares for NFL draft
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Thursday, January 10, 2013
1/10/13 at 6:11 AM
NORMAN - Tom Wort was discouraged heading into the 2012 season. It didn't get much better once the games began. Now, he figures he would be better off somewhere else.
Even if that means a long shot at professional football.
"We wish Tom the very best as he concludes his time at the University of Oklahoma," coach Bob Stoops said in a statement Wednesday night. "Tom has earned his degree and has informed me that he plans to declare for the NFL draft."
Wort was a freshman All-American and All-Big 12 defender his first two seasons in Norman. Then Brent Venables, his position coach and defensive coordinator, left the Sooners for Clemson and his world turned upside down.
"When 'Coach V' left, Tom was hurt," fellow starting linebacker Corey Nelson said the week of OU's season opener against UTEP. "He rarely showed up for meetings. He left early, as soon as he could, to get out of meetings. I mean, he was just real hurt by it. It affected us all, but it hurt Tom the most."
The revised scheme emphasized linebackers even less later in the season, when OU loaded up its secondary to stop spread offenses. It reached the point Wort, Nelson and other linebackers played sparingly at West Virginia on Nov. 17.
Wort made just one tackle in the Sooners' 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M Jan. 4, giving him 53 on the year after making 137 his first two seasons.
"The production suffered because of the system we were in. You look at the number of sacks we had, TFLs, compared to last year... It was just very different from the system we had last year," he said. "For the linebackers, it's not great. Hopefully we'll see some changes."
A week later, Wort sought change himself.
He is the third OU underclassman to declare for the NFL draft since the Cotton Bowl, joining safety Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Junior cornerback Aaron Colvin is still deliberating his stay-or-go decision.
Should Colvin leave, the Sooners would have to replace nine starters from their 2012 defense.
Original Print Headline: Wort leaving OU, declares for draft
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355