Kentucky junior cornerback Trevard Lindley has decided to bypass the NFL Draft and return to UK for his senior season.
Lindley was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference this season, recording 39 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions. He owns the school record for pass breakups with 34.
Lindley doesn't have blazing speed, but he has exceptional ball skills and has made several game-changing plays over the course of his UK career. The 6-foot, 175-pound Lindley was slowed down the stretch by a shoulder injury, and he missed the second half of Kentucky's Liberty Bowl win over East Carolina with a hyperextended elbow.
NFL Draft analyst Jerry Jones had Lindley projected as a second-round pick, and most projections had pegged him to be selected in the first three rounds.
"I advised Trevard that he should strongly consider his option (of going to the NFL) because he was rated fairly high," UK Coach Rich Brooks said. "I'm excited, and a little surprised, about his decision to return."
Lindley, an art studio major, said he'll be able to graduate in May. In the fall, he plans to pursue a second major or begin graduate studies.
"I sat down with my family and also talked to Coach Brooks to discuss what I wanted to do," Lindley said. "I want to get bigger and stronger and continue to improve."
Lindley's return should give the Wildcats' defense three legitimate senior All-America candidates next fall. Linebacker Micah Johnson and defensive end Jeremy Jarmon also contemplated entering the draft but announced they were staying at Kentucky, meaning three key components of a unit that ranked 40th in the nation in total defense will be back in 2009.
"This enhances our chances of being a much better football team next year, when you have one of the top cornerbacks in the nation return," Brooks said. "Our defense should be very strong going into the 2009 season."