BYU was the beneficiary of a belated Christmas present in the form of a standout defensive player surprisingly returning for his senior season. The same day, the UCLA Bruins were the beneficiaries of a similar gift.
In a statement, linebacker Anthony Barr stunned many by announcing that he will be returning to UCLA for his senior season. Barr had been projected as a sure-fire first-round draft pick, with some considering him a borderline top-10 talent.
“I have carefully explored my options and have decided to continue my football career with UCLA,” Barr said in the statement. “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.”
Following a 2012 season that saw him rack up 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in the regular season, Barr was named first-team All-Pac-12. According to the release, Barr’s sack total ranks second on the all-time school single-season list and his tackles for loss rate fourth on that school list.
Said Bruins head coach Jim Mora in his statement, “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.”