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Cornerback Ekpre-Olomu to stay at Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu says he is returning to Oregon for his senior season.

Ekpre-Olomu was the Ducks' second-leading tackler with 84 stops this past season. He also had three interceptions.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound California native announced his decision Monday on GoDucks.com, the school's athletic website.

"I should be able to finish my degree by next fall, possibly by the end of the summer. Football is only one phase of who I am; my degree will be forever," he said. "Secondly was my ability to make an impact and become a top (draft) pick, and I felt staying one more year would only help me."

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and center Hroniss Grasu announced earlier that they would also return next season. Running back De-Anthony Thomas and cornerback Terrance Mitchell have decided to leave the team early and declare for the NFL draft.

"His return, along with Marcus and Hroniss, sets the foundation for the leadership of this team," Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said. "That's on top of his exceptional abilities on the field, and the fact he's a great teammate."

With seven career interceptions, he's five shy of breaking into Oregon's career top 10.

Updated January 6, 2014

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