Justin Herbert grants late Christmas wish, to return for senior season

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert will forgo the NFL draft and return to Eugene — his hometown — for his senior season

Merry Christmas, Oregon fans — even if it’s a day late.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert announced on Wednesday that he will forgo the upcoming NFL Draft and return to the Ducks for his senior season. Not only is this a huge development for Oregon, it makes the Ducks legitimate conference and college football playoff contenders next season.

Herbert had this to say in his announcement:

"The University of Oregon has been a special place to me for as long as I can remember. Words will never be able to express my feelings of gratitude toward the people that have built and maintain our program," Herbert said. "What I have come to realize, though, is that nothing could pull me away from the opportunities that we have in front of us. As we prepare for our bowl game, I would like to ensure that there are no distractions outside of this game. My commitment to my teammates, our coaches, Duck fans, and the University of Oregon has never been stronger. I'll be returning to the University of Oregon for my senior year. Go Ducks!"

With his return, Herbert has a chance to break every Oregon passing record, and lead the Ducks back to national prominence — quite an achievement considering his first year as a Duck saw the team go 4-8 and miss a bowl game.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 233-pounds, Herbert was widely considered the top quarterback available for the upcoming draft — thus spurning millions of dollars to suit up in the green and yellow once again.

"We couldn't be more excited for Justin to return for his senior season. He is a special talent on the field, but, more importantly, a special person and leader off the field," Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal told GoDucks.com. "Being a native of Oregon, Justin wanted to make sure the announcement was made here in Eugene before we left for the bowl game — we are fortunate to have him in our program."

Oregon faces Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl on Monday, December 31 in Santa Clara, California. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.