Brown to return for senior year

Updated: December 15, 2008, 1:32 PM ET
Associated Press

STORRS, Conn. -- Connecticut tailback Donald Brown, the nation's leading rusher, will return for his senior year with the Huskies.

The redshirt junior from Atlantic Highlands, N.J., said he has not accomplished all of his goals at UConn, specifically going to the FedEx Orange Bowl.

"Yeah, we can explore the options, see what they have to say, but I'm coming back," Brown said. "My goal is to go to the Orange Bowl. That's what I want to do, and next year will be my last shot."

Brown ran for 1,822 yards and 17 touchdowns, leading the nation with an average of more than 151 yards. The Big East offensive player of the year rushed for more than 100 yards in 10 games and more than 200 yards twice.

He is the first UConn player to win a major Big East individual football award since Connecticut joined the football conference in 2004. He's the first running back to be selected the conference's best offensive player since Miami's Willis McGahee in 2002.

Huskies coach Randy Edsall said he has requested information from the NFL and has already received some feedback about how high Brown might be drafted if he declared this winter for the draft. He said he urged Brown to wait until after the International Bowl to make a decision on whether to turn pro, and wanted to discuss it with Brown and his family in New Jersey.

"I've already told him that I don't want him to go, but depending on where he's slotted it might be too good to pass up," Edsall said. "Or it might be a situation where, hey, you come back."

Edsall said it is possible for Brown to protect his potential future in the NFL by getting an insurance policy against any possible injuries in his senior season.

The Huskies finished the season 7-5, 3-4 in the conference, and earned an invitation to play in their second consecutive bowl game, the International Bowl, on Jan. 3 in Toronto against Buffalo.

Brown will graduate in May with a degree in exercise science. He said he will pursue graduate studies.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press