Last week Auburn fans got an early Christmas present when junior running back Kamryn Pettway announced his decision to forgo the 2017 NFL Draft and return for his senior season, citing “unfinished business.”

Pettway, who is married with a one-year-old daughter, “toyed with the possibility” of leaving school early for the professional ranks. He was, after all, projected by Mel Kiper, Jr. as a second- or third-round selection next spring, which likely would have meant a contract over $3 million.

But after much deliberation, he knew what he wanted to do.

“It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day I want to leave Auburn with a degree,” Pettway said after practice Thursday, according to the Ledger-Enquirer. “I love this place. Coming back was not a bad idea for me.”

Despite only appearing in eight games this season, Pettway quickly became a star, rushing 185 times for 1,123 yards (6.1 ypc) and seven touchdowns. His decision had as much to do with his pursuit for a degree as it did on the football field, with the Tigers looking to make a run at the SEC next season.

“Kamryn wanted his daughter with him at Auburn on a daily basis,” said Orlando Pettway, his father. “He needed that. We got everything in place for daycare for them. It was the only thing he wanted for him and his wife. They are not hurting for anything, so that was what he needed.”

Pettway is on track to graduate over the summer with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, and his plan is to start taking classes towards a master’s degree in education in the fall with future plans in coaching.