Palmer Plans to Return For Senior Season

Jonathan Palmer will add to the experience of the 2006 Auburn offensive front.

Auburn, Ala.--Jonathan Palmer, a redshirt junior on the 2005 Auburn football team, is returning for his senior season.

Roy Palmer, the player's father, notes that his son seriously considered entering the NFL draft, but decided on Friday afternoon it would be best to return for another season.

"His mom and I are thankful he decided to return because we think that is the best decision for him," Mr. Palmer says.

"He just called me and said, 'War Eagle, I am coming back and I want to play another season for Auburn and I want to win an SEC championship and a national championship and I plan to run over anybody who gets in our way.' That is what I hoped I would hear.

"JP is a grown man and we let him make the decision himself, but I am glad he listened to his father's advice. I hope it works out as well as the advice I gave to his older sister after she graduated from Spelman College. She almost took a job at Chase in New York and I advised to take another one. If she would have taken the job at Chase she would have been working in the World Trade Center when it was attacked."

Jonathan Palmer

Palmer is expected to challenge for a starting job at either center or tackle this fall. He started at center in the final regular season game, a victory over Alabama, and started twice at guard this season.

Palmer met with AU's offensive line coach, Hugh Nall, this week to discuss whether or not he would return to the team. Nalls says he believes the lineman made a wise decision.

Palmer is Auburn's most versatile offensive lineman. He plays center, guard and tackle, but has yet to become a regular starter as a collegian.

Jonathan Palmer is shown in practice working as a center.

Palmer started at guard vs. Ball State and Kentucky in 2005 and started at center vs. Alabama after taking over for Joe Cope, who was injured in the fourth quarter of the Georgia game. In the bowl game in Orlando, Palmer played three snaps at guard, but did not see action at center or tackle.

The deadline for declaring for the NFL draft is Sunday. Mr. Palmer notes that the more research he did on the subject the more it became apparent it was a risk for his son to count on making an NFL roster this year even though NFL officials told him that he has pro potential. "Even if he was drafted in the fourth round, there are no guarantees," he says.

Auburn's two senior starting offensive tackles, Marcus McNeill and Troy Reddick, are getting serious looks from NFL teams and both are expected to be drafted. Auburn's starting guards, juniors Tim Duckworth and Ben Grubbs, will be seniors in 2006 as well Cope, the starter for most of the 2005 season at center.

Auburn is expected to lose just one underclassmen, defensive end Stanley McClover, to the NFL Draft.

Palmer, who is an engineering major, is on track to graduate later this year.

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