With the coaching change at Mississippi State, word out of Starville was that defensive captain and LB Erroll Thompson would be departing for the NFL Draft. But now with the arrival of Mike Leach, Thompson has announced his plans for the 2020 season.

Thompson, a Florence, Alabama native, is coming back for next season, a year after he led the team in 2019 with 84 tackles. Two years ago, he started at middle linebacker for the nation’s No. 1 defense in 2018.

“I’m thankful and blessed for these last three years at Mississippi State University,” he wrote. “But my story isn’t done being written, our story isn’t finished. There’s so much more to accomplish both as a player, student and teammate.”

The deadline for underclassmen to enter their names into the NFL Draft is Jan. 20.

This is a huge move for the Bulldogs’ defense, which recently lost Willie Gay Jr. and Leo Lewis in recent days. CB Cam Dantzler also decided to turn pro after the Egg Bowl and skip the bowl game.

Thompson was a Freshman All-SEC in 2017 when he had 46 tackles and became a starter late in the season. In 2018, he finished second on the team with 87 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press.