NFLDraftScout.com analyst Chris Steuber is reporting that Pittsburgh junior wide receiver Jon Baldwin will be foregoing his senior season and entering the 2011 NFL draft.
Steuber and Baldwin exchanged text messages shortly after Panthers head coach Dave Wannestadt announced his resignation from the position.
When asked if he'd be returning or going pro, Baldwin responded with "...Heck yeah, I'm leaving. It can only get worse. They had me running a lot of deep routes (this year) and yards were hard to come by. I barely ran intermediate routes; it felt like they were purposely trying to disrupt my draft stock."
While pro teams may have a problem with Baldwin's publicly questioning the motives of Wannestadt, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti and perhaps the talent of quarterback Tino Sunseri, they have to acknowledge Baldwin's unique physical ability.
Baldwin, 6-5 and 230 pounds, is a matchup nightmare. While not explosive, he possesses good build-up speed, excellent body control and good hands.
Baldwin led the Panthers with 52 receptions for 810 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. He averaged a career-low 15.6 yards per reception, down from 19.4 in a breakout sophomore season that saw him catch only five more passes but for 301 more yards and another three scores. Baldwin has caught 127 passes for 2,325 yards and 16 touchdowns over his career for Pitt.
Baldwin is NFLDraftScout.com's sixth-rated junior receiver but could be drafted ahead of any senior prospect at the position -- a testament to his own ability and that of his extraordinary 2012 draft class that includes the likes of Georgia's A.J. Green, Alabama's Julio Jones, and Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, among others.