Wyoming’s Youhanna Ghaifan Declares for 2019 NFL Draft
The suspended defensive tackle elects for NFL rather than finish career at
Wyoming or take graduate transfer option
After legal issues prematurely ended the 2018 season for Youhanna Ghaifan, the interior lineman for Wyoming has decided to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. On October 26, Ghaifan was cited with harassment and false imprisonment of a hotel employee the morning before the Border War game against Colorado State. Ghaifan was immediately taken back to Laramie and indefinitely suspended from the team.
At his legal hearing in Fort Collins on Jan. 2, Ghaifan pleaded no contest to the charges and was ordered to complete 16 hours of community service and complete a boundaries class before his July 5 return to court as terms of his plea deal. Should he meet that criterion, the charges would be dropped.
By pleading no contest to the charges, Ghaifan didn’t have to share his side of the events or speak into more detail about what happened at the hotel that day. From reports, he made an unwanted advance that resulted in him pinning and attempting to kiss a hotel employee. She was able to convince Ghaifan to leave by giving him her phone number and telling him she had a break a few hours later. She then reported the incident to her supervisor and they identified Ghaifan through her description and text messages sent to her phone.
For Ghaifan, a benefit to his plea deal was that he wouldn’t have to discuss the issue. As he enters the draft process, it will be the only thing that people will want to talk about.
NFL Draft Status
On the heels of the Kareem Hunt situation, it will be interesting to see how NFL teams evaluate the highly regarded lineman. Based on his talent, he was projected to be an early round selection in the 2020 draft but the details of this incident have to be very concerning to any of the 32 teams who might be interested in him.
Additionally, an NFL team will have to select him knowing that his case will still be open during rookie minicamps and OTA’s this spring and summer; his final court appearance isn’t until July.
While the terms of his agreement are extremely lenient, how many teams are going to be interested in bringing that baggage upon their organization?
Were There Any Other Options?
According to Sean Callahan of Husker Online, Ghaifan was on the radar of Oregon, Oklahoma State and Kansas State as a potential graduate transfer. Leaving the Wyoming program seemed like a certainty, but he had other options than declaring for the draft. After finishing his degree at Wyoming in December, Ghaifan would have been able to transfer to another school without sitting out a season. While those 3 Power 5 programs were listed, it would be hard not to see schools like Nebraska and/or Iowa also showing interest if that were the route he decided to go.
Having had a rather lackluster season before the legal issues, another season of college football at a bigger school could have vaulted his stock while also allowing him to finish his legal requirements out of the public’s eye. Instead, NFL teams will have to select him knowing that he still has a pending legal situation and face the criticism that they may face in making such a decision.