Many were pleasantly surprised this week when Josh Allen and Mike Edwards decided to return for their senior season with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Both of these guys have received SEC awards during their tenure and received feedback that they would likely be selected during the 2018 NFL Draft.
On Thursday, they opened up about their rationale for returning to school.
“I can improve my tackling,” said Edwards. “I had a lot of tackles but I missed a lot of tackles in the open space. Also get my body in shape. Get more physical, more lean and more muscular.”
Allegedly, Edwards received a variety of draft projections from NFL scouts, but the highest grade had him being selected in the third round.
“When they said stuff like that, I was just like I need to get some real accurate (projections),” Edwards said. “That’s one of the other reasons I came back.”
For Allen, the decision was heavily influenced by the birth of his son.
“It changed everything once he came,” Allen said. “That’s another way it humbled me. Now everything I do affects him now. I feel like just being here with him also affects my decision and all that. Once he came, it changed everything. It made my thought process a little different.”
Some projections had Allen listed as a potential first round pick, but he believes he has a lot to prove before moving on to the NFL. After starting the year in dominant fashion, he had a hard time making plays in the second half of the season.
“I think I still have a lot to prove,” Allen said. “I feel like the beginning of the season I came on a hot start. Toward the end, I kinda slowed down a little bit. I feel like next year, once I improve on my stamina, my strength, my speed and all that, I can last more and play more.”
With both Edwards and Allen returning, as well as Jordan Jones and Denzil Ware, the Wildcats will be returning almost the entire defensive unit from this year.
Although the defense was not particularly impressive statistically, they made several important plays to help the team win 7 games this season. Give these guys another year of development and added depth, and this could be a defense that makes a statement in 2018.