Boise, Idaho • Robert Turbin has began the process of deciding whether to declare for the NFL draft.
Turbin, a junior running back at Utah State, told the media Thursday morning that he recently turned in evaluation papers to get a better understanding of his draft stock. He said he will make a decision based on that, and what his family needs are financially.
"If it's high enough, then I really have something to think about," Turbin said. "But coach [Gary] Andersen and I will sit down and talk about it after the season. It's going to be a hard decision."
Utah State is preparing to face Ohio on Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Turbin is a fifth-year junior, having already endured two season-ending injuries in his career. This year, Turbin has run for more than 1,400 yards and is the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Still, Turbin insists that there is at least the chance that he will return for his senior season, in part out of loyalty to the program, and because he enjoys the college experience.
"It's really harder than you think," Turbin said. "It's not easy to pack up and leave teammates. There are other opportunities to pursue. I can get a master's degree, I can be on a very good team next season. I can pursue a Heisman Trophy. People can easily say that I should just go for the money. But that's not what it's all about."
Will Austin return?
Utah State has filed a request to grant receiver Matt Austin a sixth year of eligibility, The Tribune has learned.
Austin, who leads the Aggies in receiving touchdowns and yardage this season, missed all of 2009 with a broken foot. Then, in the first half of last season's opener against Oklahoma, he tore his patella tendon and missed the remainder of the 2010 season.
"We think it's a slam dunk," Andersen said. "But you never know. We just have to go through the process and see what happens."
Per NCAA rules, a team must wait until the conclusion of the season to apply for an additional year of eligibility.
If Austin were to return, he would be Adam Kennedy's top target. Austin caught five of his six touchdown passes this year from Kennedy, and he specializes in making tough catches.
"If there's a contested pass and Matt goes up to get it, I like his chances," Andersen said.
Utah State's redshirt players and scout team scrimmaged at practice Thursday, giving the coaching staff additional chances to work with players who haven't received a bunch of reps this season. They were the only USU players in full pads. The starters and upperclassmen had helmets and practice jerseys on.