A.J. Johnson will return for senior season

Head Coach Butch Jones confirmed the news on his Twitter account on Tuesday

Knoxville, TN - linebacker A.J. Johnson #45 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the University of Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Photo by Ruth Tedrick/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson is returning to school for his senior season rather than entering the NFL draft.

Volunteers coach Butch Jones announced through his Twitter account Tuesday that he's "very excited to announce" Johnson would be a part of next year's team.

Johnson earned first-team all-Southeastern Conference honors this season and made 106 tackles to lead his team for a second straight year. He ranked third in the SEC with 8.8 tackles per game.

Johnson has started each of the last three seasons and has 324 career tackles. He made 138 tackles in the 2012 season and ranked fourth among all Football Bowl Subdivision players with 11.5 tackles per game.

Johnson is the only full-time starter from Tennessee's 2013 front seven on defense who will be back next season.


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