Georgia running back Nick Chubb intends to return to UGA for his senior season rather than apply for early NFL draft eligibility.
Chubb announced his intentions on Thursday. RB Sony Michel, LB Lorenzo Carter and LB Davin Bellamy will return to UGA next year, as well.
Chubb, a junior, is a power back at 5-feet-10, 228 pounds, using a compact frame to break tackles and drag defenders rather than avoiding them. He overcame a season-ending injury to his left knee in 2015, which included multiple ligament tears, to return to action this season. His rehabilitation went well enough for him to rush for 222 yards in a season opener against North Carolina, a performance that caught the eye of NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah. Chubb rushed for 988 yards on 207 carries and seven touchdowns on the regular season.
"The last game (a loss to Georgia Tech) didn't go how any of us wanted. ... It kind of hurt inside. I'm a very prideful guy," Chubb said, per ugasports.com. "To bypass the year and go chase something that's hopefully going to always be there for me, bypassing hanging out with my friends, and the brotherhood we have here, I couldn't pass up my senior year."
College underclassmen face a Jan. 16 deadline to apply for early draft eligibility.
While Chubb's recovery from the knee injury was a success, the new coaching staff at UGA didn't rely on him as much as he expected. He went six consecutive games with fewer than 20 carries, and though an ankle injury hampered him in the midst of that stretch, he eventually sought more of a role in the Bulldogs' offense in a meeting with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
Chubb's decision means he won't have to compete for draft position among a strong field of running backs who intend to enter the draft as underclassmen, including LSU's Leonard Fournette, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, Pitt's James Conner and D'Onta Foreman of Texas.
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