Bess declares for draft
Can Davone Bess be the next Steve Smith or Hines Ward? Maybe he's more in the mold of a Wes Welker.
The junior Hawaii slotback received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, and that helped the third-team All-American decide to leave the Warriors early and make himself available to the pros.
"Once he got the second-round grade he was really excited to move forward," said his agent, Kenny Zuckerman. "But it was still a tough decision for him because of the support and the chance he got in Hawaii and his love for the people there."
Bess is listed at 5-feet-10 and 180 pounds. Traditionally, most receivers drafted in the early rounds are bigger and faster, but slotbacks and small and quick pass-catchers like Bess have become an NFL commodity, Zuckerman said.
"Every year there's something that becomes in vogue," Zuckerman said, noting that this season it is slot receivers. "Look at Welker, Brandon Stokely, Anthony Gonzalez. Look at the Patriots, Colts and Broncos. (Bess) can play outside as well. He's been compared to Steve Smith. Similar build guy and so explosive.
"He's exactly what the league's looking for at receiver," Zuckerman said. "With him being healthy, Hawaii having a phenomenal year and the possibility of June (coach Jones) leaving, the time is right. The only reason to come back is the people and his teammates. He accomplished so much on the field."
Bess finished his career as the school's all-time leader in receptions (293) and touchdowns (41).
"This is an opportunity I felt I couldn't pass up," Bess said in a statement from UH. "It's been a dream of mine to play in the National Football League and I've worked hard these past three years to get to this point."
In three seasons, Bess totaled 3,610 receiving yards (second all-time at UH), 3,877 all-purpose yards (fifth), and 250 points (fourth). He caught a pass in all 39 career games played and was the nation's active career leader in receiving touchdowns. Bess and quarterback Colt Brennan shared the NCAA record for most touchdown combinations (39) with Louisiana Tech's Tim Rattay and Troy Edwards.
Bess was named to the Associated Press All-America third team and Walter Camp All-America second team as well as first-team All-Western Athletic Conference all three seasons.
"It was a thrill to be a part of something special this past season and I'll remember what this team accomplished for the rest of my life," Bess said.
Zuckerman is with Priority Sports and Entertainment, which also represents several players with Hawaii ties: Dominic Raiola, Olin Kreutz and Isaac Sopoaga.
Bess is already training at Athletes Performance in Tempe, Ariz., Zuckerman said.