Abdullah reminds me a lot of Ahmad Bradshaw. Here is his draft profile. Bradshaw left after his Jr year and listed at 5'10" 198 lbs. In comparison, Abdullah is listed at 5'9" 190 lbs, an inch and about 10 lbs off. Both have deceptive speed and can run with power (note: wanted to do some game film analysis, but computer is not letting me). Bradshaw ran a 4.55 and I foresee Abdullah running something similar, maybe even a tad faster. Bradshaw was drafted in the 7th round, but that was most likely due to an off-field issue stemming from his freshmen year at University of Virginia. Some of us Giants fans had speculated that he could have gone higher (4th or 5th round) if not for the off-field issues. If he stayed for his senior year, he could have moved up based on progression. He had a huge Jr year and probably would have done even better his Sr year. Now, compare that with Abdullah. Very comparable in terms of yds gained, YPC on similar rushing attempts (difference of 6 rushes). Bradshaw scored many more TDs, but Abdullah seems to be more of a receiving threat. Overall, very similar RBs.
Now, let's talk money. Being a 7th rounder, Bradshaw did not get a big payout and unfortunately I could not find those numbers of his rookie year deal. But, let's take a look at the draft from last year, specifically three players: Montee Ball, Johnathan Franklin, and Rex Burkhead. Ball was drafted in the 2nd round (#58 overall) and received 4 yr, $3.46 million, with $1.6 guaranteed. Franklin was drafted in the 4th round (#125 overall) and received 4 yr, $2.5 million, with $405,468 guaranteed. Burkhead was drafted in the 6th round (#190 overall) and received 4 yrs, $2.2 million with $102,352 guaranteed. Big drop off in guaranteed money as you get drafted later. Staying for senior year could net a lot more guaranteed money.
Let's focus on Burkhead for a second. He is buried on the depth chart and has not gotten his chance yet to showcase what he can do. The Bengals drafted Giovani Bernard in the 2nd round and he has been having a good year. If Abdullah gets drafted in the mid to late rounds, he will have an uphill climb on any depth chart, unless he has a monster preseason. Abdullah could also make a name for himself in the NFL next year on special teams, then push his way into getting more carries. He does well, then the bigger contract comes in 4 years. This is a tough choice for the young man.
One more thing to note, Suh stayed for his senior year under Coach Pelini. In fact, how many of our guys over the years have left after their junior year? Not many off the top of my head.
Since the NFL is a tough place for mid-late round picks, it is smart to get the college degree in hand as a fallback option.
In conclusion, it is my humble opinion that Abdullah should stay for his senior year. It would give him the chance at some awesome hardware, compete for a Big 10 title, cement his legacy as an all-time great Husker, and could greatly improve his draft prospects for 2015. But, it increases the likelihood of getting seriously hurt. And there is the dilemma, stay and potentially get hurt, or go and risk not getting a better draft position netting more money.