Michael Bush will return to Louisville for senior season

Published: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 1:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 1:54 p.m.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - At least one running back named Bush is returning for his senior season.

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Louisville's Michael Bush (19) shakes off Connecticut's M.J. Estep, left, and Marvin Taylor, center, to score a touchdown for Louisville in the second half of the Connecticut-Louisville Big East Conference game in East Hartford, Conn, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2005. Twelfth-ranked Virginia Tech (10-2) and No. 15 Louisville (9-2) are looking for redemption in the Gator Bowl on Monday, Jan. 2, 2005.

AP Photo/Bob Child,file

Louisville junior Michael Bush will play for the Cardinals next fall rather than enter the NFL Draft.

"My family isn't struggling, for money, they're not struggling, period, so there was no need to rush it," said Bush, who ran for 1,143 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2005.

Bush said he talked with members of the NFL Underclassmen Advisory Committee before making his decision. He didn't say where the committee projected his draft position, just that it wasn't high enough for him to forgo his senior year with the Cardinals.

"It wasn't what I wanted to hear, but it wasn't bad either," Bush said. "To me it's a lot of money (difference) from the first round to the second round."

Ultimately, Bush didn't want to join an already crowded list of running backs who have declared early for the NFL draft. With USC's Reggie Bush and LenDale White and Minnesota's Laurence Maroney deciding to bypass their senior seasons, Michael Bush said that could create better opportunities for him down the road.

"I see all them guys go, it makes the picture a little clearer," Michael Bush said. "I felt I still could have came in with the best this year if I came out, but next year ain't going to be too many guys out there except for Adrian Peterson."

Peterson is going into his junior season at Oklahoma.

"Some guys might creep up on me, but right now it's just me and Adrian gunning for the one and two spot," Michael Bush said.

He said a foot injury that forced him to miss two games also factored in his decision to stay.

"I think the injury played a big role in it," Bush said. "I think the injury just set me back."

The return of Bush should also keep the Cardinals near the top of the Big East Conference next season. Louisville went 9-3 during its first season in the Big East last fall and finished 19th in the country. With sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm expected to be fully recovered from a knee injury, the Big East's highest-scoring offense will return its two best playmakers.

Bush led the nation in scoring, averaging 14.40 points per game. He ran for 159 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in a triple-overtime loss to West Virginia on Oct. 15.

A first team all-conference performer, he recorded six 100-yard games, including a career-best 204 yards against Florida Atlantic.

"We're very excited about Michael's decision to return to the University of Louisville," coach Bobby Petrino said. "He's such an integral part of our offense and I look for him to have a huge senior season."

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