UK’s Edwards, Allen bypass NFL Draft to return for senior seasons

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates during an NCAA college football game against Georgia on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Athens, Ga. (UK Athletics)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKRC) – Kentucky safety Mike Edwards and pass-rushing linebacker Josh Allen have elected to bypass opportunities to enter the NFL Draft and return for their senior seasons at Kentucky.

Edwards announced his decision Tuesday afternoon on his Twitter account.

"I want to get better prepared for the NFL and improve physically and mentally," Edwards wrote. "I'm also happy about the decision to return because I'm on track to graduate in December! Now it's time to go win the SEC East!"

Edwards has been among UK's steadiest and best defensive performers since becoming a starter for the final five games of his redshirt freshman campaign in 2015. He led the team in tackles (97) and interceptions (four) as UK reached a bowl for the second straight season in 2017, becoming just the fourth Wildcat to accomplish that feat. He was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by Phil Steele after receiving second-team honors from the Associated Press as a sophomore.

A native of Cincinnati, Edwards came to Kentucky ranked a four-star prospect by Rivals and Scout. He has backed up those rankings by starting UK's last 31 games. Edwards' return continues a run of good news on that front for UK, as tight end C.J. Conrad and linebacker Josh Allen preceded him in deciding to play their senior seasons in Lexington.

Allen had been mentioned as a potential first-round pick by various outlets during the 2017 season, but will be back in Lexington to terrorize opposing quarterbacks in 2018.

"Coming back for another year will be the best way for me to grow physically and mentally and prepare for my ultimate goal of playing in the NFL," Allen wrote. "This coming year will be special for the University of Kentucky football team because we have a plan, not only to win the East, but to win the SEC! Let's finish what we started."

Allen led Kentucky in both sacks (seven) and tackles for loss (9.5) in 2017. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound product of Montclair, N.J., has developed into one of the best edge rushers in the Southeastern Conference after arriving at UK as a mostly unheralded prospect.

Allen joins tight end C.J. Conrad in returning. Conrad announced his decision soon after UK closed the season with a 24-23 loss to Northwestern in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

Information courtesy UK Athletics

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