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Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah To Return

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Running back Ameer Abdullah has decided to return to Nebraska for his senior season, much to the delight of coach Bo Pelini and his teammates. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.
Running back Ameer Abdullah has decided to return to Nebraska for his senior season, much to the delight of coach Bo Pelini and his teammates. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.

Doak Walker Award semifinalist Ameer Abdullah will return to Nebraska for his senior season, the running back announced Thursday.

The first-team All-Big Ten back rushed for 1,690 yards in 2013, including a stellar 11 games of at least 100. With a record number of early entrants in this year's NFL draft, especially at running back, Abdullah has become an exception and a slight curiosity.

"The average NFL career, because of the violent nature of the sport, is less than five years. In analyzing these truths, I have come to realize that life is bigger than football, and that my chances of long-term success in life will be greatly enhanced by completing my college education," Abdullah said in a statement Thursday.

UCLA (98 rushing yards) and Iowa (85) were the only two defenses to hold Abdullah to less than 100 yards, and he also caught 26 passes for 232 yards.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound back will help next year's presumed starter Tommy Armstrong Jr., who did not have a great season as a passer in sporadic playing time as a freshman.

Also rejoicing this week is coach Bo Pelini, whose job likely is at stake in 2014 despite a win against Georgia in the Gator Bowl.

"I know Ameer was very thoughtful about his decision and, as you would expect with Ameer, he has handled this the right way. As I have told Ameer and other players who have had to make this same choice, I fully support whatever decision they make, and am willing to help in any way I possibly can," Pelini said in a statement.

"Ameer comes from a great family, has great character and is a great leader in our program. He stands for all the right things as a student-athlete, and I know it is important for him to leave the University of Nebraska with a degree.

"We look forward to having Ameer represent the Nebraska football program for another season. Ameer has the opportunity to leave a legacy at Nebraska that will put him among the all-time greats to play here. He is a young man that is deserving of being a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and other national awards in 2014."