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January 13, 2012
Eleven wins and a No. 5 national ranking isn't quite enough for Razorback quarterback Tyler Wilson, who announced Friday morning that he will stay at Arkansas for the 2012 season.
"I have decided to stay at Arkansas for the 2012 season because I am extremely excited for what this team has the opportunity to accomplish and to finish earning my degree," Wilson said. "Although my goal is to play in the NFL, I believe I can benefit greatly from another year of working with Coach [Bobby] Petrino and Coach Paul Petrino. I am excited to be able to spend one more season at a university where the leadership shows a tremendous amount of support and the passion of the fans is the best in the country."
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft is Jan. 15, so Wilson, 6-3, 215, took the decision close to the wire. Word is the paperwork he received on his potential draft status was extremely positive, making the decision that much more difficult.
"After the feedback I received, the decision was difficult to make. Ultimately, the chance to complete my academics and play one more season as a Razorback were compelling reasons for me to remain in Fayetteville," Wilson said.
The first-team All-SEC quarterback will be a redshirt senior next season. He played as a true freshman but was granted a medical redshirt after being diagnosed with mononucleosis early in the season. After that 2008 season, Wilson sat behind starter Ryan Mallett for two seasons until Mallett declared for the NFL Draft after the 2010 season.
This season, Wilson led the Razorbacks to only their third 11-win performance in UA history while completing a school-record 277 passes. He finished his redshirt junior year with 438 attempts (63.2 percent), 3,638 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions.
"This past year was great for us with 11 wins and a top-five finish and we want to build on that. The group of players we have returning has high expectations and wants to work hard to compete for championships."
This news follows Thursday's Twitter announcement by junior receiver Cobi Hamilton that he will stick around for his senior season at Arkansas. Hamilton, 6-3, 209, caught 34 passes this season for 542 yards (15.9 yards per catch) with 4 touchdowns and has 85 career receptions for 1,519 yards (17.9 ypc) with 13 total touchdowns.
"What do I look like leaving school early??? Let's go win a National Championship...," Hamilton stated.
There was also major anxiety in Razorback country that 2010 first-team All-SEC running back Knile Davis, 6-0, 226, would opt for early entry into the NFL after missing the entire 2011 season with a broken ankle. Davis has been recovering nicely and was practicing late in the season though he has not taken any contact. Davis announced he would be coming back to Arkansas on Tuesday.
"I have made the decision to return to the University of Arkansas for the 2012 season as I am determined to help this program accomplish the goals we have set in place," Davis said Tuesday. "My injury was unfortunate, but I feel I have worked extremely hard for the opportunity to lead the Razorbacks on the field. Through my setback last season, I remained positive and was committed to persevering and I plan to apply those principles to this year's team.
I believe Coach (Bobby) Petrino is the best coach in America, and he has put this program back on the national stage. He has instilled in everyone the expectation to be great and that we will win championships," Davis said. "Our fans make playing for the Razorbacks a great experience. I can't wait for another season with them and my teammates in 2012."
Davis emerged in the second half of the 2010 season and rushed 204 times for 1,322 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns.
The Razorbacks lose some play-making seniors on offense from the 2011 squad, but that is a solid trio coming back that should provide a great foundation along with three returning offensive line starters, tight end Chris Gragg, running back Dennis Johnson, wide receiver Marquel Wade and others. Early Top-25 predictions have Arkansas anywhere from 14th to fourth nationally for next season.