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Wisconsin ILB T.J. Edwards announces he will return to Badgers for senior season

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A vital piece of Wisconsin’s defense is coming back.

Redshirt junior inside linebacker T.J. Edwards tweeted on Tuesday morning that he will return to the Wisconsin Badgers for his senior season instead of foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.

This season, Edwards was second on the team in tackles (81) and tied for second in tackles for loss (11) and for the team lead in interceptions (four). He received first-team All-America honors from four outlets (AP, ESPN, SB Nation, and USA Today) and claimed second-team selections from the likes of the AFCA, Sporting News, Walter Camp, and the All-American.

He was also the runner-up for the Butkus Award along with being named a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection.

The 6’1, 244-pound backer submitted feedback to the NFL Draft Advisory Board, but according to several reports, received a “come back to school” grade. As the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway noted, the biggest question mark for Edwards appears to be his speed.

His return to Jim Leonhard’s defense strengthens the inside linebacker position even further with the likes of Chris Orr, Ryan Connelly, and Arrington Farrar also coming back for 2018.

Wisconsin’s defense will lose seven starters (two defensive ends in Alec James and Conor Sheehy; two outside linebackers in Garret Dooley and Leon Jacobs; and three secondary members in free safety Natrell Jamerson and cornerbacks Nick Nelson and Derrick Tindal). The Badgers will also lose key contributors in redshirt seniors Chikwe Obasih (defensive end) and Joe Ferguson (safety).

Leonhard, who himself reportedly gained interest from new Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, tweeted early Tuesday afternoon about Edwards’s decision.