Three star juniors returning to Texas

Updated: January 9, 2014, 11:35 PM ET
By Max Olson | ESPN.com

AUSTIN, Texas -- New Texas coach Charlie Strong is getting three of his best players back for 2014.

Texas defensive end Cedric Reed, running back Malcolm Brown and cornerback Quandre Diggs announced they will return for their senior seasons in a joint statement Thursday.

Reed earned first-team All-Big 12 honors after recording 79 tackles, 10 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and a team-high five forced fumbles this season.

"After talking to my family and friends, I think it's in my best interest to come back next year and help my teammates and the coaching staff keep building the program," Reed said in a statement. "I think I can fit into Coach Strong's scheme well, and I'm looking forward to having a great senior year under him, while I can also finish my degree."

Led by Reed and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas tied for eighth nationally in sacks with 39 and was the only FBS team with two players recording double-digit sacks. Reed's decision to return was first reported by the American American-Statesman.

Brown rushed for a career-high 904 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, including 551 yards in the Longhorns' final five games after top rusher Johnathan Gray suffered a season-ending torn Achilles at West Virginia.

"I wanted to come back and try to have an even better season than I did this past year, plus I can graduate." said Brown, who earned second-team All-Big 12 honors. "I wanted to experience Coach Strong and see what he has for us, and I feel like we're going to have a good year. We have a lot of guys coming back. We had a pretty strong 2011 (recruiting) class, and I want to come back and enjoy my senior year with all of them. We all have to wait our turn to be complete senior leaders, and it's our time now."

Diggs, who played a nickel role in 2013, finished with 58 tackles, a team-high 10 pass breakups and 2.5 sacks.

"This will be fun, it will be different for sure, but I want to come back," Diggs said. "I want to have a full year healthy and this will hopefully be my first spring to be that way in two years. I'm looking forward to winning a lot of games and getting my degree. I'm just looking forward to being a senior leader and getting this thing back on top."

Max Olson | email

Big 12 reporter

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