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  In the midst of the transfer portal madness, players declaring early for the NFL Draft and opting out of the bowl season, the University of Arkansas got a huge present this month. Quarterback KJ Jefferson, one of the faces of the program the last couple of years, announced that he would be returning not only to play in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28, but also for his senior season in 2023. Jefferson spoke to the media about his decision for the first time on Saturday after the Razorbacks' morning practice inside Walker Pavilion. "Basically I knew I always could play here, and I just felt like this was home for me and I didn't want to leave," Jefferson said. "I just felt like I had built a bond with...everybody in the locker room, coaches, the whole staff, so I didn't want to just give that up. "So I just wanted to come back and finish out the right way and just go out there with a bang. Start the season off right for the bowl game, come back and just grind."

Sixth-year senior offensive tackle Dalton Wagner, appearing on a video call with Jefferson, also made the decision to play in the bowl game when he could've been preparing for his appearance in the East-West Shrine game and for the draft. "That was kind of a difficult decision," Wagner said. "Because there's a really good part of me that was like, 'Playing in a pretty good East-West game, need to get ready for the draft, combine, all that stuff." "Then there's that other part of me which spoke a lot louder of, 'Man, I'd really like to play one more. I'd really like to go out the right way. Finish my season up as a captain the right way, finish my season up as a teammate, as a friend and as just as a player to be able to go out there one last time wear the Hog uniform.' "Because I felt like I would have regretted a lot more if I had opted out versus if I did not opt out. And that's nothing against guys that did opt out. I wish them all the best and everything, but I just felt personally and I wouldn't sleep better at night if I had opted out." - Northwest Arkansas Times

rSr/2023 OT Dalton WagnerArkansas
News Source: Northwest Arkansas Times

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