Louisville’s Brohm to return for senior season

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The coach and running back who helped propel Louisville to unprecedented heights are gone. The quarterback, however, is sticking around.

Brian Brohm will return for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft, ending weeks of speculation that the hometown kid would join former coach Bobby Petrino and longtime teammate Michael Bush in the pro ranks.

Instead, Brohm decided to stay one more year and help the Cardinals cement their status as one of college football’s elite programs.

“I have a good opportunity to enter the draft and have a good position in the draft,” Brohm said. “However, I still feel like there’s still some things we can do here. There’s a lot of things we can still accomplish.”

Brohm said he wavered before reaching a final decision Saturday night, but ultimately felt finishing what he started at Louisville was more important than the potential millions awaiting him in the NFL.

“I went back and forth a little bit,” he said. “But I think in the beginning I always wanted to come back. That was really what I wanted to do.”

Brohm threw for 3,049 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Cardinals in 2006 while helping Louisville to a 12-1 record, a Big East title and a win in the Orange Bowl. Louisville finished sixth in the final Associated Press poll, tied for the highest final ranking in school history.

Brohm’s decision caps a tumultuous week for one of the nation’s hottest programs. Petrino resigned on Jan. 7 to become the coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Bush opted to enter the NFL draft rather than accept a medical redshirt.

New coach Steve Kragthorpe met with Brohm several times since accepting the job last Tuesday.

“This was a lot more difficult than anticipated because of all the new factors that kept arising,” Brohm said. “Coach left and we got a new coach in. That was one factor. I wanted to see what that situation was like and obviously I’m very happy with the coach that (Louisville athletic director Tom) Jurich brought in.”

Kragthorpe joked that he hadn’t slept since taking the job while awaiting Brohm’s decision, but can now hit the recruiting trail knowing he’s already landed his top prospect.

“There’s no question it’s a huge coup for this program,” Kragthorpe said. “It validates everything that’s been done here before and validates what we’re going to continue to do.”

Brohm had been projected as a first-round pick by some draft experts who thought his 6-foot-4, 226-pound frame and accurate right arm will translate easily into the NFL. Brohm has thrown for 6,751 yards and 41 touchdowns in three season. Both marks are fourth on the school’s all-time list.

Though Brohm had been told by NFL personnel that he would “definitely” be drafted early, he couldn’t get a feel for where exactly he would go. That volatile situation, combined with his Louisville roots and Kragthorpe’s background as a quarterbacks coach helped make his decision easier.

“You never know with (the draft),” he said. “You can move up quite a bit or you can move down. There are so many variables between now and the draft.”

The Brohm family’s deep ties to the community also had an impact. Oscar Brohm, Brian’s father, and older brothers Jeff and Greg all played for Louisville.

Jeff and Greg will also remain on the Louisville coaching staff under Kragthorpe. Jeff Brohm will be an assistant head coach and passing game coordinator while Greg Brohm will remain the director of football operations.

“One more year, I kept hearing that wherever I went,” Brian Brohm said with a laugh. “It’ll be nice now to have that decision made.”

AP-ES-01-15-07 1303EST

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