The LSU team that rocked Clemson on Monday night started no less than 13 third-year players. (I’m including redshirt sophomore linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson in this calculation). That doesn’t even count seniors like Joe Burrow, defensive end Rashard Lawrence and cornerback Kristian Fulton; nor does it count departed passing game coordinator Joe Brady, in a sense a transfer who has now graduated to the Carolina Panthers.
Point being: the LSU team that defends the national championship will be quite different than the one that won it, the only question is how different.
Not even 48 hours removed from hoisting the trophy, LSU is 0-for-2 on keeping its juniors around.
First up was safety Grant Delpit, who surprised no one by declaring.
— GrantDelpit (@realgrantdelpit) January 15, 2020
The Thorpe Award winner was expected to turn pro after ranking fourth on the club with 65 tackles while intercepting two passes. Delpit battled injuries for much of his junior year and started as a freshman, so it would have been a stunner if he didn’t turn pro.
The next defection was a surprise, as linebacker Patrick Queen hung up his gold helmet.
Other than perhaps Burrow himself, no Tiger increased his draft status this season like Queen — particularly late in the year. After beginning the season as a part-time player, Queen blossomed into the most disruptive player in LSU’s front seven by the Playoff run. He collected 85 tackles on the year; after never topping the 6-tackle mark over LSU’s first seven games, he posted seven or more in six of their last eight games.
Queen tied with fellow junior linebacker Jacob Phillips for the team lead during the Playoff run with 16 tackles. He was named Defensive MVP of the CFP title game.
— 🦅… (@Patrickqueen_) January 15, 2020
With Delpit and Queen gone, the attention will now turn to Phillips, and Chaisson, and junior safety JaCoby Stevens, and fellow junior safety Kary Vincent, Jr.
And that’s just the back seven.