Kevin Wilson wanted to squash it.

Optimum Scouting reported earlier in the week that Indiana tailback Jordan Howard was likely to declare for the NFL draft at season’s end.

But Wilson did his best to eliminate the notion that Howard was leaning one way or the other.

“I saw somebody put out that he’s declaring for the draft,” Wilson told “Our guys go through the process, because anyone declaring right now is losing money because it’s an immature decision. We teach our guys the process of getting (evaluated) and going through and making a mature decision.

“For example, if our guys want to move on, playing their best football this game will help them move on more than who their agent is or what they’re doing this spring.”

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According to, Howard is currently the seventh-rated draft-eligible running back.

Howard would have a chance to boost his draft stock if he’s able to suit up for the Pinstripe Bowl against Duke. A knee injury sidelined him at the end of 2015. It didn’t prevent him from picking up First-Team All-B1G honors, nor did it stop IU from winning its final two games to clinch its first bowl berth in eight years.

But Wilson said he isn’t planning on playing Howard if he feels like he’s putting him at risk for re-injury.

“I think the team’s growing and he looks like he’s OK, but we’ll see,” Wilson said. “I know he wants to (play), but I think we judge that as we get to gametime, short-term and long-term. It’s not about this game, it’s short-term, but long-term what’s best for him.”

Against a Duke defense that allowed just 3.4 yards per rush, the Hoosiers could use their all-conference tailback.

Barring a major change, it sounds as if once again, Howard will be a game-time decision for the Dec. 26 kickoff in New York.