Jalen Jelks to pass on NFL and stay for final season

Ahead of the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday against Boise State, Oregon defensive lineman Jalen Jelks told reporters that he will remain with the Ducks for final year of eligibility, passing on the NFL.

“I’m back for sure,” Jelks said to reporters in Las Vegas. “I talked to my parents and my family and everything and just probably the best decision for me is to make the best out of next season and make a lot more plays than I did this season.

“I missed a lot of plays, and if I can capitalize on that and translate it to next season I could contribute a lot to the draft.”

Jelks, who played in all 12 games for Oregon this season, recorded 50 tackles and led the team with 15 tackles for loss. He was a true force for the Ducks’ defense in what was his best season in Eugene.

After redshirting his true freshman year, Jelks began to accumulate time on the field in 2015 and 2016, but this year he flexed his strengths in defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt’s defensive line.

Like many other Ducks, Jelks will have to adjust to a third coaching staff of his career at Oregon with Mario Cristobal at the helm for the upcoming season following the exit of Willie Taggart for Florida State. It remains unknown whether Leavitt will return next season, but the coach will remain on the Oregon sideline for the bowl game.

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.