- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA (AP) - Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater is returning for his senior season.

Prater, a first-team All-Big Ten pick last season, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he plans to come back in 2011 after debating whether to enter the NFL Draft.

Prater, a native of Omaha, Neb., had 68 total tackles, four interceptions and a fumble recovery last season as Iowa finished 8-5 and a disappointing 4-4 in the Big Ten

“I thought it was best to come back because senior leadership goes a long way, especially in this program,” Prater said.

Prater’s return will help bolster a defense that will lose linemen Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard and Karl Klug and safety Brett Greenwood to graduation. The Hawkeyes will have holes to fill up front, but Prater and Micah Hyde should give them one of the best cornerback tandems in the Big Ten.

Prater, 21, had submitted his name to the NFL’s draft advisory committee to see where he might have been selected.

Prater said that about seven NFL teams watched film of him and told him he’d have been picked anywhere between the fourth and seventh rounds.

Prater, who is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, said he wants to be more patient on defense in 2011 and possibly return punts or kickoffs. Prater also wants to add about 10 pounds.

“I can have a chance to finish school, put on some more weight and be, hopefully, a team captain and a leader for this team,” Prater said.