Junior running back Bryce Love, who finished as the runner-up to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield in the Heisman Trophy voting, will return to Stanford for his senior season, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Monday was the deadline for underclassmen to decide if they would return to school or make themselves eligible for the NFL draft. Love, who played high school football at Wake Forest-Rolesville, led the nation in rushing with 2,118 yards last season, despite missing one game with an ankle injury. That injury lingered for the final six games of the season but still did not slow down the former prep track star, who averaged 8.1 yards per rush, the highest average in FBS history.
Love (5-10, 196 pounds) had 13 runs of 50 yards or more last season, an FBS record, including a 69-yard touchdown run in the Cardinals’ 39-37 loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl. He finished his junior season with 19 rushing touchdowns.
After sitting behind current Carolina Panther running back Christian McCaffrey for two seasons, Love burst onto the scene his first season as a full-time starter. Just five games into the 2017 season, Love rushed for 1,088 yards, becoming the first player to hit the 1,000 yard mark in college football last year. Love had the most yards after five games in the last 20 years of college football.
He is on pace to break the Stanford school record of 4,300 set by Stepfan Taylor in 2009-12. Love received 75 first-place votes in the Heisman race, finishing 1,050 points behind Mayfield and 507 points ahead of defending Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.