Michigan defensive end/linebacker Chase Winovich will stay with the program for his senior season and not declare for the NFL Draft, he announced Wednesday morning with a tweet.
“Those who stay will be champions”
After much deliberation, I have decided to forego the NFL and come back to Michigan for one last season. It’s my absolute honor to represent this university for one more season after everything it has done for me. Time to work pic.twitter.com/l8pb1Z4Chq
— Chase Winovich (@Chase_Winovich) January 3, 2018
Many recruiting services didn’t list Winovich as a sure-fire selection for the 2018 NFL Draft. NFLDraftScout.com ranks him the eight-best defensive end prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, though. His decision comes two days after he recorded three tackles in the Wolverines’ 26-19 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. Michigan was the only Big Ten team to lose its bowl game.
“The consensus is that I can’t go wrong,” Winovich told Landof10 in early December. “If I leave this year, I go make a lot of money. If I come back here, I have a great opportunity. And there’s nothing wrong with Brandon Peters, but with Shea [Patterson] coming here, just the possibilities are endless and it would be a great opportunity to see things through.”
Winovich had an accolade-laden 2017 campaign. He was named to the all-Big Ten first team by the media and the second team by the coaches, in addition to earning Walter Camp National Player of the Week on Defense and Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors after Michigan’s 28-10 win over Purdue on Sept. 23. Winovich had eight tackles — four solo — and 2.5 sacks in the victory.
He finished the regular season with 70 tackles, 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovered. He led the Big Ten with 17 tackles for loss. It was a breakout year for Winovich, who redshirted his freshman season and slowly worked his way into an impact player. In a limited role in 2016, he played in 13 games and recorded 32 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble. He came into his own late in the season, when he recorded a sack in three of the final five games.
Winovich also made headlines for his efforts off the field. Winovich, who wears jersey No. 15, promised to die his signature-blond locks orange for the Outback Bowl if fans donated $15,000 to the ChadTough Foundation, which supports pediatric brain tumor research and studies nationwide. By late December, Winovich’s fundraiser had raised more than $155,000.