Monk Decides To Return For Senior Season

FAYETTEVILLE -- Marcus Monk needed a few days to think it over with his family and speak with his coaches. But ultimately, he decided it was in his best interest to stay at Arkansas.

Monk said Thursday night that he will return for his senior season with the Razorbacks despite hearing projections that he could be as high as a second-round pick if he left school early for the NFL.

"It's tough. You want to provide, especially in my situation. I want to provide for my family," Monk said. "Sometimes, it's better to be patient."

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft is Monday. But Monk said he made his decision to stay at Arkansas after speaking over the past few days with coach Houston Nutt and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who also coaches the wide receivers.

Nutt and Malzahn told Monk that they need to pass the football more next season if the Razorbacks hope to compete for a national championship. That could mean more passes thrown to the 6-foot-6, 217-pound wide receiver from Lepanto.

Monk said he informed Nutt on Wednesday night of his decision to return for his senior season.

"He was just happy," Monk said of Nutt's initial reaction. "He felt it was the best decision for me."

Monk's decision to return is good news for Nutt, who learned late last week that cornerback Chris Houston would forgo his senior season to enter April's NFL Draft. On Sunday, defensive end Jamaal Anderson told Nutt that he had made the same decision.

Their departures leave the Razorbacks -- who finished the season ranked No. 15 -- without two of their top defensive starters from this past season. Arkansas went 10-4 in 2006 while finishing with its top ranking since 1989.

"I don't want to just win 10 games," Monk said. "I want to help win a national championship."

Monk was by far Arkansas' leading receiver this past season, catching 50 passes for 962 yards and a school-record 11 touchdowns. The previous record for touchdown receptions in a season at Arkansas was 10 by Anthony Lucas in 1998.

But Monk caught only one pass for 13 yards while battling a stomach virus in Arkansas' 17-14 loss to No. 7 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1. It was his worst performance of the season.

Monk said it was a tough decision to come back for his senior season, especially after hearing from the NFL draft advisory board that he could be selected in either the second or third round of the draft if he left early. But it just felt right to return.

"Just talking with my family and putting a whole lot of consideration into it, I decided it was best for me to come back," Monk said.

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