Columbia, Mo. Five Missouri football players who were thinking about entering the 2008 NFL Draft have decided to return for their senior season instead.
The juniors, including quarterback Chase Daniel and tight end Chase Coffman, had submitted their names to the NFL College Advisory Committee before the Cotton Bowl. The others who submitted their names were free safety William Moore, defensive end Stryker Sulak and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood.
Their decision to return gives Missouri 16 returning starters, including 10 on defense, from a team that won the Big 12 North Division for the first time, won a school-record 12 games, beat Arkansas, 38-7, in the Cotton Bowl, and finished the season with a No. 4 ranking, its highest ever.
After players submit their names to the committee, the panel projects in which round each would likely be chosen in the upcoming draft.
"It was a great process to go through for me, personally," Daniel said. Daniel, in his second season as starter, passed for 4,306 yards and 33 touchdowns on his way to being named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and finishing fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
Coffman, who was third on the team with 52 catches for 531 yards, holds the Missouri career record for touchdown catches with 20. He was named to the All-Big 12 second team.