Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith bypass NFL Draft; Return for Senior Seasons

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Sept 15, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Alvin Dupree (2) tackles Western Kentucky Hilltoppers wide receiver Kadeem Jones (32) at Commonwealth Stadium. Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcats junior defensive ends Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith will both be returning for their senior seasons next year after opting to bypass the 2014 NFL Draft, and that’s made MArk Stoops one happy coach:

“We are very excited that Bud and Za’Darius have decided to return,” Stoops said Tuesday. “Obviously this is big for our team as we are counting on their leadership in the 2014 season. In regard to their future, I believe that Bud and Za’Darius will benefit greatly with another year of development on the field, in the weight room and in their academics.”

A second-team All-SEC selection this year, Dupree should be a first-team all-conference pick if he continues to improve this offseason in his second year under Stoops.

Dupree had a great year for Kentucky ranking 37th in the conference with 61 tackles, including 5.5 tackles per game. He finished the season with a team-best seven sacks, ranking sixth in the conference and 40th in the nation in that category.

Dupree also finished with a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup, three quarterback hurries and two fumbles forced.

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