Redshirt junior linebacker Hayes Pullard has announced he will return to USC for his senior season and not enter the 2014 NFL Draft, he announced on Twitter.
To all the Trojan Family, Its been Decided. I will be back for #OneMoreYear. One Team, One Family, One HeartBeat.. Big things in 2014!
— Hayes Pullard lll ✌ (@FightOn10) January 13, 2014
Pullard opted not to follow the footsteps of fellow Crenshaw high school product Marcus Martin, who decided to forgo his senior season. The linebacker had been listed as the 11th-best player at his position by NFLDraftScout.com.
In 2013, Pullard led the team in tackles with 94, which is 21 more than second place Leonard Williams.
Pullard has been a steady force on the defense since his debut as a redshirt freshman in 2011. In his first season as a starter, Pullard tied for a team-high with 81 tackles, while starting in all 12 games.
Pullard’s impressive play in 2011 earned him a spot on CollegeFootballNews.com’s Freshman All-American first team.
He followed that up in 2012 with 107 tackles, which placed him second on the team behind T.J. McDonald’s 110 tackles. His 2012 performance garnered a Pac-12 honorable mention and a spot on Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 third team.
Pullard will return in 2014 with 39 starts under his belt and the leader of a Trojan defense that will look to build on their success in 2013. With Steve Sarkisian taking over, Pullard will be playing for his third head coach, four if you count Clay Helton’s one-game stint, and will be under the direction of his third defensive coordinator in Justin Wilcox.