Michael Floyd mulled his decision for a day and half.
And after two meetings with Notre Dame coach Brain Kelly, the receiver made the decision that many fans wanted to hear but feared they would not.
Floyd decided to return to Notre Dame for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL draft, the university announced Wednesday.
"This was a tough decision because my dream has always been to play in the NFL, but I didn't think that this was the best time to make that jump," Floyd said in a news release from Notre Dame. "Ultimately, I wanted to be at Notre Dame for my senior season because you never get college back."
It appeared to be a given that the Irish would have to replace their top playmaker after Floyd finished his junior season with a MVP performance in Notre Dame's 33-17 win over Miami in the Sun Bowl. He caught six passes for 109 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns.
Floyd finished his junior season with 79 receptions for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"I know Michael put a great deal of thought in determining whether he should enter the NFL this year, and I truly appreciate and respect him for realizing the gravity of his decision," Kelly said in a statement.
"Whether Michael went to the NFL this year or next year would not have changed my opinion that he will have a long and successful career at the next level. I would have supported Michael's decision either way, but obviously I am thrilled he will be part of our team in 2011."
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound receiver will enter his senior season with the most touchdowns (28), second-most receptions (171) and third-most receiving yards (2,539) in school history.
Floyd, who received a third-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee, said his projection in the draft didn't weight too heavily on his decision.
The Saint Paul, Minn., native said earning a degree, helping Notre Dame return to the top and showing he is the best receiver in the country influenced his decision.
"First, I promised my mom I would graduate from Notre Dame, and I am 40 credit hours shy of attaining that goal," Floyd said. "I chose to attend Notre Dame in part because I knew it was a 40-year decision and not a four-year decision. Graduating from Notre Dame will help me for the rest of my life.
"Second, I want to get Notre Dame back to a BCS game. I believe we are very close to returning the Irish to where we belong, and I want to be part of something great. Lastly, I want to show everyone in the country that I'm the best wide receiver in college football in 2011. There are many things I need to improve, but I feel with the coaching I have at Notre Dame, I can become the best at my position in this game."
Floyd's return puts Notre Dame, which lost one playmaker when tight end Kyle Rudolph decided to skip his senior season to enter the draft, in the discussion for a BCS bowl berth.
The Irish closed the 2010 season on a tear, winning their last four games, and that finish also helped Floyd decide to return.
"It was really important because it showed to others and me that we're moving in the right direction," Floyd said. "We got on a roll at the end of the year and that will hopefully carry over into next season."