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DALLAS (AP) — Shawn Oakman has been a dominant defender for Baylor, an All-Big 12 defensive end who needs only one more sack to set the single-season school record.
Some projections have the 6-foot-9, 280-pound junior as a high NFL draft pick next spring if he decides to come out early.
Oakman said Monday that he's not done at Baylor, and is planning to return for his senior season.
"You're all making it seem like I was gone. I didn't say I was leaving," Oakman said. "It's not my time. I've got unfinished business. ... It's promising on both sides, the NFL and college"
The Penn State transfer, who had to sit out 2012 at Baylor after redshirting the previous season with the Nittany Lions, has 10 sacks and a Big 12-leading 18½ tackles for losses. He was a third-team AP All-America pick for two-time Big 12 champion Baylor, which plays Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on Thursday.
While Oakman acknowledged that "I changed my mind every day," he believes he can be a top draft pick if he stays in college another season.
"I can be number one. That's the way I see it. If I'm top 15 now, to me, I haven't done anything spectacular," he said. "I just know that my work ethic and my potential is so much higher and the things I'm going to do this offseason could just catapult me to number one. ... Why not stay?"
Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett recruited Oakman when he was still in the same position at Pittsburgh. That relationship helped in Oakman landing at Baylor when he left Penn State.
Without starting a game for Baylor last season, Oakman had 12 ½ tackles for losses. He has increased that while starting every game this season, but doesn't think he's yet done enough for the Bears.
"Looking at my body of work, it wasn't good enough for me to leave," Oakman said. "That's not how you want to leave a program that resurrected you and brought you back to the light you're supposed to be at."
Oakman has filed paperwork with the NFL advisory committee that gives prospects an idea of when they could be drafted, helping them decide whether they should declare for early entry or stay in school. He was still waiting to hear back on that.
"He's made progress. He's not where he's going to be though. I'm honest with him. Another year is what he needs," Bennett said. "He's still raw. He's worked hard. The thing about Shawn that's a joy, he knows he's got things to work on. And the best thing about him, though, the sky is the limit for him."
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