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Patrick Jones II will skip NFL draft, return to Pitt in 2020

NCAA Football: Miami at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt’s defense became one of the best in the nation during the 2019 season thanks in large part to its fierce defensive line, and Panthers defensive end Patrick Jones II emerged as one of the team’s most productive linemen. As such, Jones considered forgoing his senior year at Pitt and entering the 2020 NFL draft, but on Saturday, he announced he would return for another season with the Panthers.

”I want to begin by thanking God for everything he has done in my life and allowing me to be in the position that I’m in now,” Jones said in a message posted on Twitter. “After talking with my family, I’ve decided to return for my senior year at the University of Pittsburgh. I still have unfinished business on the field to take care of with my Pitt brothers. I am very grateful to have my family and coaches support my decision.”

As part of a Pitt defense that finished the regular season ranked third in the nation in sacks, 11th in tackles for losses and 11th in total defense, Jones ranked second on the team in both sacks and tackles for losses, with 8.5 and 11.5. He earned second-team All-ACC honors for his efforts and will return to a replenished line that will also feature first-team All-ACC honoree Jaylen Twyman.

In addition, defensive linemen Keyshon Camp and Rashad Weaver are expected to return after missing the 2019 season due to injuries, and Pitt will retain the services of Habakkuk Baldonado and Deslin Alexandre, who combined for 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for losses in 2019. So with Jones back in the fold, Pitt’s defensive line will be loaded.