Akbar Opts for NFL Draft, Triplett Returns for Senior Season

Jan. 10, 2001

Seattle - Washington junior safety Hakim Akbar announced today that he will forego his senior season and declare himself for the National Football League draft. Akbar cited his desire to assist his family financially as a primary motive behind his decision. Last season he led the Husky defense in tackles with 97 and was named a first-team All-Pac-10 selection. His 54 solo tackles led Washington's defense. He was credited with breaking up six passes during the season and recording two interception. Akbar led the Husky defense in Washington's 34-24 victory against Purdue in the Rose Bowl with nine tackles, including eight solo stops.

Husky junior nose tackle Larry Tripplett announced today that he would return to Washington for his senior season. Like Akbar, Tripplett had written the National Football League to get a report on his possible status in this year's draft. Tripplett was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and a candidate for the Nagurski Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player. He had 38 tackles in 2000 including a team high 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

Akbar becomes the ninth Washington player to declare early for the NFL draft. Here's a look at those players:

Player             Draft  Selected By    Round DraftedEugene Burkhalter, fs   1990   Not drafted    naSteve Emtman, dt        1992   Indianapolis   1stBilly Joe Hobert, qb    1994   L.A. Raiders   2ndLawyer Milloy, fs       1996   New England    2ndCorey Dillon, tb        1997   Cincinnati     2ndOlin Kreutz, c          1998   Chicago        3rdBenji Olson, og         1998   Tennessee      5thBrock Huard, qb         1999   Seattle        3rdHakim Akbar, s          2001   tba            --

Rick Neuheisel on Hakim Akbar:

'I will miss Hakim. He is a heck of a football player and a really fine individual. He will always be a member of the Dawgs' family and I promise that I will constantly remind him that he needs to return to the University and complete his degree.

'It was great to play a part in his college experience. Hakim's reasons for declaring for the NFL draft are both personal and financial. I know this is a difficult decision for him because he enjoys the college experience so much. I hope this turns out to be the right decision for him. That is something we may not know for several years, not just on draft day.

'My only regret is that all of the risk is on the player and not the NFL. There is no recourse for them to return to school. I would hope the NCAA would consider an option, such as the NBA provides, that the players can return to school after the draft if they reconsider their decision.'

Rick Neuheisel on Larry Tripplett:

'I know Larry had a tough time with this decision and I'm very happy that he'll be a Husky next season. He had a tremendous year and yet he has room to grow as a player. We will do everything we can to help him reach his full potential as a college player. I think he can be one of the truly dominating players next year and be up for the big awards.

'He would have been very hard to replace, especially as a team leader. The fact he is a returning captain will mean a lot to next year's football team. '

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