Quarterback Kevin Hogan to return to Stanford

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan will return to school as a fifth-year senior, opting to make one more run with the Cardinal next season instead of entering the NFL draft or pursuing other career paths.

Hogan announced his decision via Twitter on Thursday, the final day for early-entry candidates to declare for the draft. A couple hours later, junior cornerback Wayne Lyons tweeted he also would return.

The school confirmed both would be back.

''Some of the guys I talked to said to rely on your gut and don't make a decision you might regret down the road,'' Hogan said in an article posted on the Stanford athletics website. ''This is something I can't regret. Coming back to Stanford really was a win-win situation for me. I'm happy, and I want to get back to work and get better.''

Hogan's return should boost Stanford's chances to contend for the Pac-12 title. It also delays plans for his highly touted backups, freshman Keller Chryst and sophomore Ryan Burns, to take over the position.

Hogan helped stabilize the program after Andrew Luck's departure, leading the Cardinal to consecutive conference championships and Rose Bowl berths in his first two years as the starter before he and the program slid back this season. He has thrown for 6,518 yards, 48 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Hogan is 24-8 as the starter.

Stanford won its final three games this season to finish 8-5, with Hogan playing exceptional in each contest. That included beating Maryland 45-21 in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 30 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Hogan is on track to graduate in the spring and had been weighing whether to enter the draft, where he would likely have been a late-round pick at best. There also had been speculation he could transfer to a school closer to his hometown of McLean, Virginia, after his father, Jerry, died in December of cancer - something that hung over Hogan all season but he never publicly discussed.

Hogan said he never considered transferring and found those suggestions ''kind of funny.''

''A lot of my decision wasn't necessarily related to the football program,'' he said. ''It was the school in general. I feel I can further dedicate myself academically and possibly get my master's degree next year. There's no better locker room in the country and I wasn't ready to leave these guys.''

Had Hogan left, Stanford coach David Shaw believed he had two capable successors.

Chryst was one of the country's top pocket-passers coming out of high school before redshirting this season, and the strong-armed Burns also would've challenged for the job. Now both will likely compete to be Hogan's backup.

Evan Crower, who played behind Hogan the last two seasons, will be a fifth-year senior next season and could be a candidate to transfer. Left tackle Andrus Peat and cornerback Alex Carter previously announced they would forgo their final year of eligibility at Stanford and enter the draft.

While the Cardinal are losing top playmaker Ty Montgomery and several starters on defense to graduation, the offense should be loaded.

Four of five starters will be back on the offensive line, and Hogan should have no shortage of targets. Wide receiver Devon Cajuste and electric playmaker Christian McCaffrey will be back along with emerging tight ends Austin Hooper, Eric Cotton, Greg Taboada and Dalton Schultz.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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