Decisions, Decisions

Published 2:48 am Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sam Bradford is going to play at Oklahoma for at least another year. Fellow sophomore LeSean McCoy is headed for the pros.

Bradford, the Heisman Trophy winner, said Wednesday he will pass on the NFL draft and return to Oklahoma for his junior season. The Sooners lost to Florida in the BCS national title game last week.

Bradford led the nation with 50 touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 180.8. He likely would have been one of the first quarterbacks taken in April’s draft.

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He’ll also be taking another crack at the Heisman. Archie Griffin of Ohio State is the only player to win two Heismans. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the 2007 winner who is returning for his senior season, finished third behind Bradford in the Heisman voting this season.

Thursday is the deadline for juniors and third-year sophomore such as Bradford and McCoy to make themselves draft eligible.

Pittsburgh’s talented running back McCoy will head to the NFL as the owner of several school records.

McCoy told coach Dave Wannstedt of his decision in a phone call Wednesday. The two met last Friday, but a teary-eyed McCoy couldn’t make up his mind. He delayed the decision again Monday.

‘‘I have frequently played both choices in my mind. I have considered my alternatives and I have prayed,’’ McCoy said in a statement issued by the school. ‘‘I have made my final decision and will forego my junior season.’’

NFL scouts project the 5-foot-11, 210-pound McCoy as a late first-round to early second-round pick.

Other players deciding to return to school Wednesday included LSU running back Charles Scott and offensive lineman Ciron Black; Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley; and UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner.

For LSU, Scott ran for 1,174 yards, the fifth-best mark in school history and 18 touchdowns in 2008.

Black has been the starting left offensive tackle for the past three years. He has started 40 consecutive games for LSU.

‘‘It’s really good for me to come back,’’ Black said. ‘‘I’m really close to graduating. I also have a lot more to do in college. I have to be more of a leader. Both of us have a lot we need to do. We want to be real leaders.’’

Former LSU stars LaRon Landry and Glenn Dorsey elected to return for their senior seasons and ended up being top-five NFL draft picks.

Lindley led the Wildcats with four interceptions and led the SEC in total passes defended last season.

Verner led the nation with 18 passes defended last season and had two interceptions. He was a second-team All-Pac 10 cornerback as chosen by the league’s coaches.

Ohio State wide receiver Brian Hartline also announced Wednesday that he will skip his final year of eligibility. He had 90 catches for 1,449 yards and 13 touchdowns during his Ohio State career, and is expected to graduate in June with a communications degree.