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Louisville's DeVante Parker decides to return for senior year

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John Raoux/Associated Press
Louisville's DeVante Parker will be among the top wide receiver prospects in college football next season.

Louisville junior wide receiver DeVante Parker, who has 22 TD receptions in the past two seasons, announced Thursday afternoon via Twitter that he will remain in school.

Three other underclass receivers, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks, Texas A&M's Mike Evans and Penn State's Allen Robinson, announced Thursday they were turning pro. Parker definitely would've been behind that trio in the draft pecking order, and that might have played a role in his decision to remain in school.

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Last month, the Louisville Courier-Journal quoted Parker's grandfather, who helped raise him, as saying that unless his grandson was considered a first-round pick, he would remain in school. Willie Parker reiterated that stance to the Courier-Journal on Thursday.

"We had a sitdown, and I said, 'DeVante, if you're not in the first round, there's no sense thinking about going,'" Willie Parker said.

Willie Parker also said his grandson would take out what the Courier-Journal called a "substantially larger insurance policy" as protection in case of injury. DeVante Parker should enter the 2014 season as one of the nation's top 10 wide receivers.

Parker (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) was second on the team with 55 receptions, and he led the Cardinals in receiving yards (785) and TD receptions (12). He missed one game with a shoulder injury that bothered him from about the midway point of the season.

Parker had 10 TD catches in 2012 and six in '11. He has excellent size, and though he doesn't have elite speed, he is quick and can get off press coverage. He has become more adept at using his size, and his vertical jump has been measured at 41 inches. He has 28 career TD receptions in 113 career receptions and should be the go-to guy for Will Gardner next season; Gardner, who attempted 12 passes as a freshman this season, is the front-runner to take over for Teddy Bridgewater as Louisville's quarterback next season.

Earlier Thursday, Louisville announced that fifth-year senior wide receiver Damian Copeland was not going to petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility; he missed the 2009 and '11 seasons with injuries. Copeland led Louisville in receptions this season.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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