Anthony Barr will return to the UCLA Bruins next season rather than enter the 2013 NFL draft.
CBS' Bruce Feldman had the news:
UCLA junior LB Anthony Barr will return for his senior season in 2013.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 1, 2013
Barr jumped as high as the top 10 on some draft boards in December (namely Mel Kiper's big board at ESPN Insider), and for good reason. After starting his career with the Bruins as a running back and wide receiver combo player, Barr shifted to linebacker this season and led the nation with 13.5 sacks.
He also finished with 73 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and five passes defended and was named an All-Pac-12 first-team selection.
Not bad for a player debuting at a new position this year.
Barr had said in early December—before he had formally made a decision, mind you—that he was leaning toward returning to UCLA. According to Jack Wang of the Pasadena Star-News in early December, Barr noted "If I had to choose today, I'd probably stay."
In the end, he was able to deny the allure of the NFL for one more season.
What is so intriguing about Barr is that he's still learning the outside linebacker position, though he's certainly proven to be a fast study. With one more year to mature at the college level, NFL teams should only see more of his tremendous untapped potential.
Barr looks like the prototypical outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He's a natural pass-rusher who has the athleticism to drop into coverage and the strength to support against the run.
He doesn't have the pure star power of a player like Georgia's Jarvis Jones, but Barr should eventually be an excellent addition to a team that plays the 3-4 scheme.
A year ago, Barr was switching positions. Now, he looks like a future first-round pick. One more year at UCLA could pay huge dividends for this exciting athlete.