NFL Draft

For First Time In History, A UDFA Is Returning To College

Here’s a scenario that appears to be a first for the NFL and college football. Arizona State Michael Turk, who declared for the draft in 2020 has been granted a waiver to return to school this fall.

As that tweet points out, Turk didn’t change his mind shortly after declaring. He left school, hired an agent, attended the Combine, where he put up 25 reps on the bar, and sat through draft weekend. He wasn’t selected, nor was he signed as an undrafted free agent, and now has been allowed by the NCAA to return to Arizona State.

The waiver came due to the COVID pandemic, not allowing Turk to workout for teams in the pre-draft process.

This isn’t Steelers-centric news but a crazy piece of draft information that’s worth sharing. It appears Turk is the only player given this exception; it’s unclear if anyone else even applied.

Turk, who averaged 46 yards per punt in 2019, will be a junior next year so he would have to declare again. But whenever he becomes draft eligible, he may be the first player ever to attend the Combine twice. The Steelers signed a punter post-draft, inking South Alabama’s Corliss Waitman. Waitman has an interesting path to the draft too. He originally transferred to Mississippi State for 2020 but had his move reversed by the NCAA, forcing him to go pro. He’ll compete with Jordan Berry this summer.

And though the circumstances that surrounded this year are unprecedented, it’s worth asking if more underclassmen will try to pursue this avenue in future years, knowing how many of them go undrafted.

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