Based on the past couple of years, LSU has to be feeling pretty good when it comes to players leaving early for the NFL this time around.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, three draft-eligible Tigers — offensive linemen Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander and defensive back Jalen Mills (pictured) — announced that they would be returning to the Tigers for another season. The news is not surprising as all three were expected back, but it’s nonetheless official.
Additionally, tight end Dillon Gordon and linebacker Lamar Louis were a part of a press release from the school that announced the players who were staying.
“These guys handled the decision with maturity,” head coach Les Miles said in a statement. “There are a variety of draft positions represented in this group. What they did was postpone wealth and said that there is more to accomplish. They want to get a degree, play for a championship and raise their draft status. In other words, rather than give the NFL a bargain we are going to go to the senior bowl, get our degree, play for championships for one more year. We are going to command top dollar when we go to the NFL. They are going to make their draft entry the most profitable position that they can be in.
“The decision is certainly not ours. It is theirs. What we do is give them as much information as we can. We have ties to the NFL and we have ties to player personnel people who very comfortably give advice. We turned in our inquiry to the NFL and they returned it with draft positions. We shared those with these guys. This is a personal decision and it’s what is best for them. I’m excited. This group that we return will provide leadership and will be dead in the middle of our success. As we go forward, this is a great reason to believe that we will have a very talented team.”
The three players the Tigers lost to early-entry are linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive back Jalen Collins and defensive end Danielle Hunter. One player who flirted with leaving eligibility on the table this year was redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural, who confirmed in mid-December that he would be returning.
This year’s tally marks the lowest number for the Tigers since 2011.