LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky junior defensive ends Alvin "Bud" Dupree and Za'Darius Smith, have elected to return to UK and will not enter the 2014 NFL Draft, it was announced recently.
"We are very excited that Bud and Za'Darius have decided to return," Coach Mark Stoops said. "Obviously this is big for our team as we are counting on their leadership in the 2014 season. In regard to their future, I believe that Bud and Za'Darius will benefit greatly with another year of development on the field, in the weight room and in their academics."
Dupree led all Southeastern Conference defensive linemen with 61 tackles in the 2013 season. The native of Irwinton, Ga., finished the season with a team-best seven sacks, ranking sixth in the conference and 40th in the nation in that category. The junior also finished with a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup, three quarterback hurries and two fumbles forced. Dupree had a career game against Mississippi State with 13 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. The 13 tackles in a game was the most for a UK defensive lineman since game-by-game records were available back to 1993.
The junior's strong season has drawn praise as he has been named a second-team All-SEC performer by The Associated Press and third-team All-SEC by College Sports Madness. Dupree began 2013 on the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Lineman Trophy Watch List, which is given to the nation's best defensive lineman and was named Preseason All-SEC by league coaches, media, College Sports Madness and Phil Steele's College Football.
Dupree, who served as a captain in 10 of UK's 12 games, was named Sophomore All-America second team last season by CollegeFootballNews.com and was an All-SEC third-team honoree by Phil Steele's College Football and College Football Madness in 2012.
Smith, who joined Kentucky from East Mississippi Community College, had a great first season with the Wildcats. The native of Greenville, Ala., finished the season third on the team in total tackles with 59, while sitting second on the team in tackles for loss with 6.5 and sacks with six. Smith had a career game against Miami (Ohio) with three sacks and six tackles, including four solo tackles, to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors from College Sports Madness. The junior also had six quarterback hurries on the year, including a pass breakup and one fumble recovery. Smith's strong year led him to third-team All-SEC honors from College Sports Madness.