Jayden De Laura Declares for 2024 NFL Draft, Abruptly Ends Tumultuous College Career

    Revelations about a civil suit forced Jayden de Laura out of college football. Now, he has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Could he be drafted?

    A starter at two different Power Five programs, Jayden de Laura transferred to Texas State for his last season of eligibility after 16 games with the Washington State Cougars (2020-2021) and 19 for the Arizona Wildcats (2022-2023). However, his stint in San Marcos lasted just over a week as he withdrew amid public outcry over his recent settlement in a sexual assault civil suit.

    Now, De Laura has declared for the NFL Draft, ending a roller coaster collegiate career with plenty of highs on the field but even lower lows off of it.

    Jayden De Laura’s Journey to the 2024 NFL Draft

    De Laura won Hawaii’s Gatorade Player of the Year award as a senior at Saint Louis School in Honolulu, the same high school that produced several high-profile quarterbacks including Timmy Chang, Marcus Mariota, and Tua Tagovailoa.

    He signed with Washington State for the 2020 class with Mike Leach as the Cougars coach, but Leach left for Mississippi State soon after and was replaced by Nick Rolovich.

    The Cougars’ QB played sparingly in a COVID-impacted freshman season in 2020 and was cited for a DUI in January that offseason. He was indefinitely suspended upon the arrest, but was reinstated after the charges were dropped in July, 2021.

    Back on the team, De Laura earned Pac 12 Freshman of the Year in 2021, starting 12 games and passing for 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns. With Rolovich out after being terminated for failing to meet the state of Washington’s employee COVID mandate, De Laura transferred to Arizona in 2022 to play for head coach Jedd Fisch.

    De Laura had a career year in his first season in Tempe, throwing for 3,685 yards and 25 touchdowns in 12 games, while the Wildcats finished 5-7 in 2022. He started the first four games of 2023, but suffered a leg injury in the third quarter against Stanford. Noah Fifta entered the game and led the Wildcats to a 21-20 victory.

    Fifta was given the starting role and didn’t relinquish it the rest of the year. He was named 2023 Pac 12 Freshman of the Year — the same award De Laura won in 2022 – after passing for 2,869 yards and 25 touchdowns. Fifta also set the Arizona program record for completion percentage (72.4%).

    With one year left to play, De Laura opted for the transfer portal again after that season. He reconnected with Craig Stutzmann, De Laura’s co-OC at Washington State and WR coach at Texas State. Committing to the Bobcats in January, he was announced as enrolled a few days later.

    This was met with almost immediate controversy as the details of an alleged sexual assault by De Laura when he was a minor were revealed after he settled a civil suit the day before he signed with Texas State. The University released a statement to the school’s newspaper a few days later.

    “During our football coaching staff’s recruitment of Jayden de Laura, and after reviewing the available public information related to a juvenile allegation in 2018 when Jayden was a minor in high school in Hawaii, it was determined that the matter does not violate the Texas State University Code of Student Conduct or athletics misconduct policies,” Texas State’s statement sent to The University Star said.

    “Jayden also complied with Texas State University and NCAA policy in reporting what he was allowed to disclose based on the terms of any agreements in his case as defined by the court. He also complied in disclosing his history as a student-athlete at both Washington State University and the University of Arizona.”

    Texas State head coach G.J. Kinne also released a statement, saying, “First, Jayden never pled guilty or was convicted of criminal charges, and he recently settled a civil case from an incident that occurred in 2018 when he was a minor in the state of Hawaii.”

    “During the recruitment process, our coaching staff visited with several of Jayden’s former coaches from his two previous schools, Washington State University and the University of Arizona, as well as others that know him closely. Each person not only spoke highly of his character but how he has developed into the man he is today.

    “We also have Craig Stutzmann on our coaching staff, who knows Jayden closely as they are from the same hometown in Hawaii. Coach Stutzmann has seen his character firsthand in multiple places and at different points in Jayden’s life.

    “Based on all of this background, we are confident Jayden will be a positive representation of a Bobcat, and we look forward to him serving as a leader to his teammates and for our program.”

    MORE: Texas State 2024 Transfer Portal Moves 

    Public outcry from students and fans continued, with an on-campus protest scheduled. Less than a week after De Laura was announced, Stutzmann accepted a job to be the OC at San Jose State. Two days after that, De Laura withdrew from Texas State and re-entered the transfer portal.

    It’s been over a month since that quick but chaotic venture in San Marcos, and now he has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility for the pros.

    Could Jayden De Laura Be Selected in the 2024 NFL Draft?

    There isn’t much concern about his talent. He has plenty of that. However, circumstances surrounding his college football career will likely keep him far from team’s draft boards.

    We’ve seen situations with players like DeShaun Watson where teams are willing to forgive past transgressions dealt with in a civil court rather than a criminal one, but Watson was an established Pro Bowl-caliber player when his case came out. Not to mention, he had a much more prolific collegiate career.

    At this moment, there is some confusion as to De Laura’s eligibility status for the 2024 NFL Draft.

    He declared after the January 15 deadline for underclassmen to file for the NFL Draft, which he could be classed as having played just four games in 2020. In that situation, he would be entered into the 2024 Supplemental Draft since it returned last year after a three-year hiatus. However, no players were picked up in the 2023 Supplemental Draft.

    Yet, it is unclear whether De Laura redshirted as a true freshman, with eligibility issues complicated by the extra year offered to any college football player active in 2020. If he didn’t redshirt in 2020, he would be deemed as having played four years and, therefore, would technically exhausted his eligibility if he opted not to take advantage of the additional year of eligibility.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big 12 Power Rankings

    Either way, with his late entry into the NFL Draft and question marks over his college career, the likeliest route to play at the pro level at this time would be with the UFL or CFL.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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