Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


UCF QB Bortles declares for NFL Draft; UCLA's Hundley stays

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: January 6, 2014 - 2:12 PM

Another quarterback is off the board…and another quarterback added.

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles announced he will declare for the NFL Draft on Monday while UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley announced he will return for his junior season.

Bortles surged into the top 10 on mock drafts with his performance this season and the need at quarterback for five of the top eight teams in the 2014 NFL Draft, including the Vikings. The junior finished with 3,581 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, nine interceptions and .678 completion percentage.

In his final college game, Bortles went 20 of 31 for 301 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in UCF’s 52-42 victory over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. He also had a career high 93 rushing yards with a touchdown against the Bears.

“It’s a tough decision; it’s a great decision, two great options,” Bortles said at Monday’s press conference. “I sat down with my family and came to the decision that I’d like to pursue my dream and have that opportunity.”

Bortles joins Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as potential top-10 picks at the position to declare for the NFL Draft. Texas A&M Johnny Manziel reportedly will declare, but he hasn't announced it officially.

Most expected Hundley to return throughout the season, but he said after the Sun Bowl he was undecided. Hundley said in Monday’s press conference that’s he’s staying in school to help bring UCLA back to national prominence and to get a degree.

“Second, third maybe even fourth round with the possibility of teams picking me in the first,” said Hundley at Monday’s press conference about his NFL evaluation. “It was sort of scattered everywhere but at the end of the day there’s a lot of things you take into account. I think one of the things was being able to come back to something truly special and not leaving it before it was where it needed to be and help bring it to the stage it needed to be was something I sat on and thought about all week, all night long.

He finished his sophomore season with 3,071 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a .672 completion percentage.

Hundley will get to spend another season under head coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone to develop as a potential top 10 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Mora has spent time as an NFL head coach and Mazzone, the former Gophers quarterbacks coach, developed Phillip Rivers at North Carolina State as offensive coordinator.

He's the second Pac-12 quarterback to stay in school next season along with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. If both turn pro along with Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston next year, that'll be impressive, top-heavy class at the position.

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