Johnathan Franklin returning to UCLA

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, a two-year starter, will return to school for his senior season.

Franklin said he met with new coach Jim Mora on Tuesday and, after talking with teammates, decided to remain in Westwood for another year.

"I feel like it's best if I stay," Franklin said. "Coach Mora didn't promise me anything, he didn't tell me I'll be a starter or anything. He's a hard-nosed coach, he wants to win championships and turn the program around. He'll do whatever he can to do that and that's a coach I want to play for."

Franklin, a Los Angeles native who played his prep ball at nearby Dorsey, rushed for a team-high 976 yards last season, but had only five touchdowns in 14 games. The redshirt junior ran for 1,127 yards during a breakout 2010 season, the 10th-best single-season mark in school history.

Franklin rushed for a season-low 29 yards in the Bruins' 20-14 loss to Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 31. He had just 35 yards in the 49-31 loss to Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 Conference championship game. UCLA finished the season 6-8, and the disappointment played a major role in Franklin's decision.

"It's not the way I want to go out or the way I want to be remembered," Franklin said. "I want to take UCLA to the top and be remembered for something. I want to turn this program around."

Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL draft. The deadline to pull out of the draft once declared is Jan. 18.

Blair Angulo is a regular contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com.