Posted: Thu December 20, 2012 6:05PM; Updated: Thu December 20, 2012 9:08PM

Alabama's Mosley to return for senior season

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C.J. Mosley
Linebacker C.J. Mosley, left, has had 99 tackles this season at Alabama.
AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley is returning for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft.

The consensus All-American said Thursday he wants to graduate next December - and maybe become a fulltime starter.

"There's a lot I still haven't accomplished yet as far as football goals," Mosley said. "And I still want to get my degree.

"It really hasn't been a tough decision, because the whole time I knew I was going to stay."

Mosley was a finalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation's top linebacker. He easily leads the nation's top-rated defense with 99 tackles and also has four sacks and two interceptions.

The No. 2 tackler, Trey DePriest, has 56 stops.

However, Mosley has alternated with run-stopping senior Nico Johnson throughout his career. Johnson has started five games at the position in his final season.

"I'm going to be a first-year starter, officially," Mosley said.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said Mosley is "a guy that can have a tremendous impact on the game" and should get even better.

"He's a guy that's gotten bigger and stronger every year," Saban said. "He's gotten to be a better and better player. I think next year, as he matures physically, he's even going to get bigger and stronger and continue to improve how physical he can play."

Mosley came up with one of the Tide's biggest plays of the season when he tipped Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray's pass on the final play of the Southeastern Conference championship game. Chris Conley caught it and went down near the 5-yard line to preserve Alabama's 32-28 victory.

The pass was intended for Malcolm Mitchell and Murray has told reporters "it's a touchdown" if Mosley hadn't gotten a hand on the ball.

"He had the running back, and the running back blocked and he had a chance to go after the quarterback," said cornerback Dee Milliner, who was covering Mitchell. "For him to have the awareness to go up and get the ball, because the receiver could have caught the ball if he hadn't hit it ... For him to get a little tip on it to slow the momentum of the ball helped us. That was right there at the end zone. He probably could have turned and you never know what could have happened."

Milliner said Mosley is "kind of different as a linebacker" because he can cover a tight end and occasionally receivers.

Tide quarterback AJ McCarron has also said he'll come back for his senior season.

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