Sheppard Leaning Toward Returning To Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard is leaning toward returning for his senior season, but he's at least curious to find out where he'd be projected in the NFL Draft.

Ricky Sheppard, Malcolm's father, said Wednesday that his son has filled out paperwork to receive feedback from an NFL advisory committee about his draft prospects.

Sheppard's father said he believes his son has all but decided to return for his final season with the Razorbacks, adding that another year at Arkansas would only benefit the junior.

"You put your name out there and see what people think about it. Who knows? It will be Malcolm's decision," Ricky Sheppard said. "... It's probably a little too early, but all systems seem to be pointing to (him) being a Razorback next year."

Sheppard was named this week to both the Associated Press' and the coaches' All-Southeastern Conference second teams following his breakout season in 2008.

The 6-foot-3, 277-pound defensive tackle anchored Arkansas' line, and according to the SEC's statistics, finished second in the conference with 16 tackles for loss and fourth with 7 1/2 sacks. He was also credited with 53 tackles.

Sheppard capped this past season by recording eight tackles — including two sacks and 3 1/2 tackles for loss — in Arkansas' 31-30 win over LSU in War Memorial Stadium on Nov. 28.

"Malcolm still feels that he needs that other year (of eligibility). He's so close to graduating," Ricky Sheppard said. "Another year probably couldn't do nothing but help him. He wants to get better. He thinks the team could probably be a whole lot better next year."

Sheppard's father said he's not sure when his son will hear back about from the NFL advisory committee. The defensive tackle filled out the paperwork to get his draft status earlier this week.

Ricky Sheppard said right now his son is in a "wait-and-see" period, but that he's leaning "heavily" toward coming back for his senior season.

Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL Draft. Sheppard turns 21 on Feb. 13.

"Pretty much he's coming back next year," Sheppard's father said.

It appears tight end Andrew Davie will forego his senior season to enter the draft, according to published reports. Davie did not return messages left on his cell phone.

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