Oregon State QB Sean Mannion returning to Beavers

The Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is returning for his senior season.

Mannion, who has already graduated with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies, announced his decision Monday in a statement released by the Beavers.

''I'm excited to return for my senior year,'' Mannion said. ''I weighed the pros and cons of making myself eligible for the Draft with my family and current coaching staff, and came to the conclusion that I have decided to continue my career with my teammates at Oregon State.''

Mannion set a Pac-12 season record for passing yards with 4,662 and threw an Oregon State-record 37 touchdown passes, third-most for a single season in conference history.

Before making his decision, he consulted the NFL Draft Advisory Board and was projected as a third-round selection.

In fall camp, coach Mike Riley took his time to decide whether to start Mannion or Cody Vaz. The two had traded off the prior season - mostly because of injuries - and the Beavers went 9-4 after winning just three games in 2011.

Mannion won the job, but got off to a rocky start when the Beavers fell 49-46 at home to lower-division Eastern Washington in the season opener.

The Beavers rebounded and reeled off six straight wins to become bowl eligible seven games into the season. Along the way, the 6-foot-5 Mannion was widely considered a Heisman hopeful.

But a 20-12 loss to then No. 6 Stanford touched off a five-game losing streak to opponents that included USC, Arizona State and Washington.

The Beavers capped the regular season with a hard-fought 36-35 loss to rival Oregon at Autzen Stadium. The slide ended with a 38-23 victory over Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl to snap a two-game postseason losing streak.

Oregon State wrapped up the season 7-6.

Two Beavers, receiver Brandin Cooks and defensive end Scott Crichton, decided to forgo a final year of eligibility at Oregon State to declare for the NFL draft, set for May.

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