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Udeze Weighs Draft

January 06, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Kenechi Udeze, USC's All-American junior defensive end, said Monday that he is leaning toward making himself available for the NFL draft, but that he would take a few more days to make a final decision.

Udeze, who will turn 21 in March, met with Coach Pete Carroll and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron on Monday. Udeze's family also was present for the meeting.

"There's so much stuff surrounded by the whole [NFL scouting] combine, I just want to make sure I've covered all those aspects and that I'm putting myself in the best situation possible," said Udeze, who had 13 1/2 sacks during the regular season and three against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. "We won a national championship, the team played great throughout the whole course of the season and I made All-American.... It's been a great year and I've had a great time here. If I stay here, there's so much more to offer, so there's a lot to think about."

Carroll said he supports Udeze's exploration of his options and that USC coaches will "try to make him aware of what he's getting into and then trust that if he does a good process, the decision will be the best one he can possibly make, and we'll support him."

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