NORMAN — Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin will return for his senior season, opting for one more year of college football before entering the NFL Draft.
“I still have unfinished business at Oklahoma,” Colvin said in a statement Monday “I'm excited for the opportunity to be back on the field with my teammates in 2013. There are team and individual goals that I'd still like to accomplish at OU.”
Safety Tony Jefferson, receiver Kenny Stills and linebacker Tom Wort all chose to forgo their senior seasons; fullback Trey Millard, like Colvin, opted for one more college season.
Colvin, a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, gives Oklahoma a talented, experienced playmaker on a defense that looks like it will enter the 2013 season with few of them; eight of the Sooners' 11 defensive starters from their Oct. 27 loss to Notre Dame are now gone.
“I am pleased that Aaron has come to this decision and I believe it's the right one for him,” Stoops said in the statement. “I believe he has an opportunity to become one of the premier defensive players in the Big 12 and in the country. Hopefully, he will continue to work hard to reach that potential and help us achieve our team's goals.”
A few days before the Sooners' 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M, Jefferson said that Colvin would be the face of Oklahoma's 2013 defense.
“Honestly, I don't know what our defense would be without him,” Jefferson said. “I know he's gonna show the leadership that he has (as a senior).”
Colvin (6-feet, 181 pounds) displayed flashes of his tremendous potential throughout the 2012 season, particularly early in it. In the Sooners' Oct. 6 win at Texas Tech, he blitzed quarterback Seth Doege and, just as Doege was about to throw the ball, leaped just in time to snatch his first career interception.
He finished his junior season with 52 tackles, two sacks, four interceptions and four pass break-ups.
Colvin — just like the rest of the OU defense — struggled later in the season, with the Sooners facing high-powered spread offenses. In a 50-49 victory at West Virginia, receiver Stedman Bailey caught 10 passes against Oklahoma for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
Colvin did intercept one pass in that game, though, and tip another ball to safety Javon Harris, which he picked off.
Colvin played cornerback as a true freshman, started at safety as a sophomore and switched back to cornerback before his junior year. He's started 26 career games.
Colvin said in the days leading up to the Cotton Bowl that his grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board wasn't as high as he hoped, but was still good enough for him to consider leaving college early.
That day, Colvin also said some goals — like winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back and earning All-America honors — remained unaccomplished, and might ultimately persuade him to return to school.
Stoops told reporters Friday that Colvin was the last non-senior he expected to hear from either way regarding this year's NFL Draft.
Draft-eligible underclassmen have until Tuesday to decide if they'll leave school early.
As an Owasso High School senior in 2009, Colvin was named to The Oklahoman's elite All-State football team along with future college teammates Julian Wilson (Southmoore), Austin Haywood (Southmoore) and Bronson Irwin (Mustang).
Wilson and Irwin each played significant roles in the defensive backfield and on the offensive line, respectively, for Oklahoma throughout the 2012 season; Haywood left the team midway through the 2011 season.