COLUMBIA – University of Missouri junior quarterback Drew Lock will return to Mizzou for his senior season, it was announced on Tuesday.

Lock had considered early entry into the 2018 NFL Draft, but after consulting with family and coaches, he has chosen to return to Columbia.

“I’m very excited to be coming back for my senior year, and I’m really optimistic about what we can do as a team next season,” Lock said. “There were a lot of factors that went into this decision, but the main ones include: a feeling of responsibility and loyalty to my coaches and teammates at Mizzou.

"We have goals to achieve together; having the chance to play for a new coach in Coach Dooley, and his system that will continue to add to my development; and of course, getting my degree. I feel like all of these factors combine to give me the best chance to succeed at the next level. Thank you to Coach Odom and everyone on the Mizzou staff for being patient and very helpful to my family and me during this process. I’m looking forward to exciting things to come."

Lock, a sport management major, is scheduled to earn his degree this December. He enjoyed a breakout junior campaign in 2017 as he led the nation with a school and SEC-record 44 touchdown passes, helping lead Mizzou to seven wins and the program’s first bowl game since 2014.

With his return in 2018, the Tiger offense (which has led the SEC in total offense each of the last two seasons) will now return nine starters. In all, Mizzou will return 18 starters next season, including seven on defense, as well as both kicking specialists.

“I’m proud of Drew and his family for how they approached this decision and how they handled themselves during the process,” said Head Coach Barry Odom. “We were very thorough in gathering all the information possible to assist. Drew obviously has a great skill set that will continue to be developed at Mizzou. His leadership skills and being a great teammate are two qualities that I admire.

"I look forward to building our team this spring and am excited that Drew will be part of that. I know he will have an unbelievable approach in his preparation and practice habits to lead our program. He’s going to graduate from Mizzou and have a great senior season. I’m excited for Drew and our team moving forward."