A pair of Hilltopper defenders will forego early entry into the NFL Draft and return to Western Kentucky in 2013.
Middle linebacker Andrew Jackson will be returning for his senior campaign, while free safety Jonathan Dowling will return to WKU as a junior.
The news about Jackson, a two-time 1st Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, is a huge boost for new WKU head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff entering their first season on the Hill. Jackson is now ranked as the No. 3 middle linebacker out of 118 that could be eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, according to NFLDraftScout.com--behind Kevin Minter at LSU and Alec Ogletree at Georgia.
Jackson led WKU with 122 tackles in 2012, including 17.5 for a loss and 4 forced fumbles.
Dowling, a transfer from Florida, led the Hilltoppers' defense with 6 interceptions in 2012, including 3 in the overtime victory over in-state foe Kentucky. Dowling added an additional 7 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles in 2012.
NFLDraftScout.com projects Dowling as No. 13 out of 115 draft-eligible safety's in the 2015 NFL Draft.