Five NFL prospects to return to Missouri for senior season

Updated: January 8, 2008, 8:52 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Five Missouri football players who considered entering the 2008 NFL draft will return for their senior season instead.

The juniors, including quarterback Chase Daniel and tight end Chase Coffman, had submitted their names to the NFL College Advisory Committee before the Cotton Bowl.

"These are all high-caliber football players," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "Having them here is obviously a huge positive for us going forward."

The others who submitted their names were free safety William Moore, defensive end Stryker Sulak and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood.

Their decision to return gives Missouri 16 returning starters, including 10 on defense, from a team that won the Big 12 North Division for the first time, won a school-record 12 games, beat Arkansas 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl, and finished the season with a No. 4 ranking, its highest ever.

After players submit their names to the committee, the panel projects in which round each would likely be chosen in the upcoming draft.

"It was a great process to go through for me, personally," Daniel said. "I think everyone is glad they got the feedback, and I know we're all excited about what's out here for us as a team next year."

Daniel, in his second season as starter, passed for 4,306 yards and 33 touchdowns on his way to being named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and finishing fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

Coffman, who was third on the team with 52 catches for 531 yards, holds the Missouri career record for touchdown catches with 20. He was named to the All-Big 12 second team.

Moore played his best at the end of the season, when he intercepted five passes in Missouri's final six games after teammate Pig Brown suffered a season-ending injury. He finished the season tied for the most interceptions in the country with eight.

Sulak and Hood will anchor a line next season that lost All-Big 12 performer Lorenzo Williams. Sulak was named to the All-Big 12 second team after recording six sacks, while Hood was named honorable mention All Big 12.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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