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Oregon Ducks inside linebacker Troy Dye (35) celebrates a play. Oregon Ducks Football takes on San Jose State at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 15, 2018. (Devin Roux/Emerald)

University of Oregon athletics announced on Thursday that inside linebacker Troy Dye will return for his senior season with the Ducks rather than heading to the NFL.

"It just ultimately came down to the fact of just having this one last ride with this one last year that you get. You don't play college football that many years so when you get this opportunity it's once in a lifetime so I just want to try do everything that I can to create moments in this upcoming year."

In his junior season, Dye led the team in tackles with 115, was second on the team with 8.0 tackles for loss (two sacks) and had seven pass breakups.

The Norco, California, native has played an instrumental role in Oregon's defense since his freshman year, leading the team in tackles all three years, totaling 313 career tackles, just 121 shy of being the school's all-time leader. He enters 2019 with 33 consecutive starts and as the Pac-12’s active leader in tackles.

Dye is listed as weighing 224 pounds and noted that he needs to get somewhere in the range of 235-240 to be strong enough to play linebacker in the NFL.

I plan to put on some more weight, gain some more muscle get in the weight room with Coach Feld some more," Dye said. "

In the NFL, it doesn’t matter, they can put me at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, shoot they could play me at kicker it won’t really matter to me as long as i get a chance to play."

Oregon will also return 10 of its 11 offensive starters with just wide receiver Dillon Mitchell forgoing his senior year to go the NFL. The Ducks also return quarterback Justin Herbert, who announced prior to the Redbox Bowl that he'd play his senior year in Eugene.

Dye's return will be a big boost for the defense, which has also been bolstered by No. 1 recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux and Oregon's highest-ranked recruiting class in school history.

His return also grants him another season with his younger brother, running back Travis Dye, who just finished his freshman year.

"I’ve been playing with that kid ever since we were able to walk," Dye said of his brother. "We’ve been playing backyard football forever so it’s not really a big factor to me but it did kind of play a little bit of a role."

Maverick Pallack contributed to the reporting of this story

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

Shawn is an associate sports editor at the Daily Emerald, covering Oregon football, women's basketball, softball and everything in between.

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