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TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2007
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Auburn

On the last day underclassmen could declare themselves eligible for this year’s NFL draft, Auburn junior Quentin Groves confirmed what he had said previously — he’s staying at Auburn for one more year.

“This is a decision my family and I have sat down and talked about, my wife and I have sat down and talked about, and my coaches have sat down and talked about,” said Groves, a defensive end.

The pass-rush specialist finished the 2006 season with 37 tackles, including 12 for lost yardage. He had 91/2 sacks this season, and with 23 career sacks, he ranks second all-time at Auburn. He has started 16 games, recording 82 tackles in his career.

“I think it’s important, for our program and any program, to get your guys who want to come back for their final year of eligibility to give your program a boost,” Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said.

For Groves, the decision came down to his family and how he could best help them.

“I was wanting to leave for the simple reason I wanted to help my mom and my dad because they took care of me for 22 years of my life, and I felt like I owed them this much,” Groves said.

Bradley Handwerger, Sports Writer

Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron on Monday hired University of Central Arkansas athletic director John Thompson to be defensive coordinator.

Orgeron has served as his own defensive coordinator during his two seasons.

In a news release from Ole Miss, Orgeron said of Thompson: “He’s been successful defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference and is highly respected by his peers. He brings energy and a vast knowledge to our staff.”

In news releases from Ole Miss and UCA in Conway, Ark., Thompson said he’s thankful to both schools for the new job opportunity.

“I’ve enjoyed this job very much and I’m excited about joining Coach Orgeron at Ole Miss,” said Thompson, 51. “I believe we can do great things there. Ole Miss has a great tradition, and I’m honored to be able to join their team there and be a part of it.”

Thompson has been UCA’s athletic director since May 2006.

His relationship with Orgeron stretches back to 1983, when Orgeron was a player at Northwestern State, and Thompson was a defensive coordinator for the first time. Orgeron also worked as a graduate assistant under Thompson in 1984.

Thompson has more than two decades of coaching experience and has coordinated defenses at Southern Mississippi, Memphis, Florida, Arkansas and other Division I schools.

Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm will return to the Cardinals next season rather than enter the NFL draft.

Brohm said Monday he had an opportunity to “get a good position in the draft,” but decided he wanted to come back for his senior season and try to lead his hometown school “to greater heights.”

“We’ve accomplished a lot of great things and there are still some things we can accomplish,” he said, adding he made his decision Saturday night.

Brohm threw for 3,049 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Cardinals in 2006 while helping Louisville to a 12-1 record, a Big East title and a win in the Orange Bowl. Louisville finished sixth in the final Associated Press poll, tied for the highest final ranking in school history.

Hawaii

HONOLULU — Record-breaking Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan declared himself eligible for the NFL draft Monday, but may still return to the Warriors.

Brennan filed as a formality to meet the NFL deadline, but is still deciding whether he’ll skip his senior season, Warriors spokeswoman Lois Manin said Monday. Brennan has 72 hours before he needs to make an official decision.

Manin said the filing doesn’t indicate any decision to pass up his senior season. A scheduled press conference originally scheduled for Monday morning for Brennan to announce his decision was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Brennan, who broke the NCAA single-season touchdown and passing efficiency records last month, also led Hawaii to an 11-3 season — matching the school mark for wins.

Ohio State

AKRON, Ohio — Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State’s game-breaking returner and receiver, and tailback Antonio Pittman said Monday they will leave the Buckeyes a year early to enter the NFL draft.

Ginn and Pittman will join receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who announced last week that he would give up his final season of eligibility to turn pro.

“It was a hard, tough decision,” Ginn said in a phone interview. “It was just a great time for me to go.”

Pittman announced his decision Monday at Buchtel High School in Akron. Flanked by players from high school’s football team, he called playing in the NFL and possibly being a first-round draft pick a lifelong dream.

Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

“In the end, I think I just realized that this is a business decision and that it is time for me to take that next step,” Peterson said in a statement released by the university Monday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the draft.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said. “I haven’t been sleeping much. I just put it all in God’s hands.”

Peterson returned from a broken collarbone to run for 77 yards and two touchdowns in Oklahoma’s 43-42 overtime loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. He had been sidelined for seven games with the injury, suffered Oct. 14 on a touchdown run against Iowa State.

Peterson ran for 4,045 yards in three seasons, ranking behind only 1978 Heisman winner Billy Sims (4,118) and Hall of Famer Joe Washington (4,071) on Oklahoma’s career rushing list. His 1,925 yards in 2004 were a school rushing record and the most by a freshman in NCAA history.

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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