Oregon's Justin Herbert expected to return for senior season despite being No. 1 pick candidate

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is becoming a consensus top-overall pick candidate in the 2019 draft, but multiple league sources indicated it is far more likely that the junior actually remains in school for another year.

Teams have begun falling in love with the strapping prospect – a 6-foot-6, athletic, former multi-sport star who is evolving into a pure passer – and his prospects continue to rise by the game, but numerous sources said that there is a very strong sentiment from the Oregon program that Herbert will remain in school for 2019. Several scouts from NFL teams who have held informal discussions with friends and contacts on the Oregon staff said they would be very surprised if the quarterback opted to turn pro this spring.

Furthermore, there are strong signals throughout the agent community that Herbert is going to stay in school. Several of the top agencies generally in line to represent such talents are becoming pessimistic about him entering the draft. Herbert is a native of Eugene, Oregon, who absolutely loves the school, badly wants to win there and is very eager to play with his younger brother. Patrick Herbert is a four-star tight end prospect who is committed to going to Oregon in 2019.

At this point it would be a surprise if Herbert opted to leave the school. His family is secure with him playing out his college eligibility, this is not a financial hardship situation, and Herbert has seen other top-overall picks like Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning stay in school for their senior season and remaining the first-overall pick.

Herbert's game is only continuing to grow and improve at Oregon and, speaking with NFL teams about the projected quarterback class in 2019 and 2020, there is strong sense that he will remain the best of that group in whichever year he opts to turn pro. At this point, with roughly half a season left to play this year, indications are pointing solidly to 2020.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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