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Monday, December 31, 2012
Anthony Barr will return to UCLA

By Kevin Gemmell
ESPN.com

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, a potential first-round draft pick, has decided to put off the NFL for another season and return with the Bruins for his senior year.

After switching from running back to outside linebacker this past year in UCLA's 3-4 scheme under new head coach Jim Mora, Barr flourished in the role and was one of the premier defensive players in the country in 2012.

He was a first-team selection to the All-Pac-12 team while compiling 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss -- which ranked in the top 10 nationally for both categories before the start of the bowl season.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had Barr at No. 10 on his Big Board.

"I have carefully explored my options and have decided to continue my football career with UCLA," Barr said in a statement released through the school Monday. "I felt a strong connection with my teammates and coaches that I do not want to see end. I will continue to pursue my degree and take part in the team drills after the holidays. The time will come soon enough to live my dream of playing at the next level."

Barr was also an honorable mention to the Pac-12 All-Academic team. He was named a second-team All-American by numerous outlets.

"Anthony considered his options and we are glad he has chosen to stay with his teammates to continue the mission to move Bruin football forward in the new year," Mora said in the same statement.

UCLA wrapped up a 9-5 season in Mora's first year as the Bruins head coach and a 6-3 mark in the Pac-12. The Bruins won the Pac-12 South but ended the season on a three-game skid. They fell in back-to-back games against Stanford -- including the Pac-12 championship game -- and they were blown out by Baylor 49-26 in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl last week.