Travin Dural

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

LSU wide receiver Travin Dural hints to returning in 2016

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With the NFL Draft entry deadline creeping up in the next couple of days(Monday at 5pm Eastern), LSU wide receiver Travin Dural has dropped a hint he intends to return to the Tigers in 2016. On his Instagram account on Friday night, Dural shared an image of himself in his LSU uniform with a comment referencing his senior season, which would be this coming fall.

“Senior year bout to be on 10,” Dural said in the caption to his Instagram post.

This is not even the first time Dural would have put any plans on entering the NFL on hold. After the 2014 season, Dural opted to return for his redshirt junior season when he could have entered the NFL Draft in 2015 with a large number of his LSU teammates. That was huge for LSU’s offense as Dural was among the top receivers on the roster in 2014. Unfortunately for Dural, a hamstring injury late in the 2015 season prevented him from playing in the regular-season finale against Texas A&M and LSU’s bowl game against Texas Tech. Dural reportedly underwent surgery to address the right hamstring tear. The recovery from surgery should take the next five months, which may have played a role in the decision as it would mean Dural would not be available for workouts and combine activities until after the NFL Draft.

It is unknown if Dural requested for an evaluation from the NFL Draft advisory board, as many undergraduate players eligible for entry in the NFL Draft do.

Helmet sticker to The Advocate.

LSU’s Travin Dural helped rescue woman trapped in overturned SUV

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The LSU football program has generated more than its share of negative headlines throughout the offseason, but now it’s something positive that’s making news.

Back in late July, Ross Dellenger of Baton Rouge Advocate is reporting, Travin Dural helped rescue a woman who was trapped in her overturned SUV.  Dural and his cousin, Southern University wide receiver Randall Menard, happened upon the unnamed woman and found her in her Nissan SUV, which had landed upside down in what was described as a waterless ditch.

From Dellenger’s report:

Both front doors were jammed, with the driver’s side door crushed against the side wall of the 6-foot deep trench.

She was hanging upside down from the driver’s seat incapable of reaching or opening the back doors, said Michael McQuade, a St. Martin Sheriff deputy who was one of the first on the scene.

Dural, along with his cousin, Southern University receiver Randall Menard, pried open the rear passenger door and pulled out the woman from the vehicle, McQuade said.

“We had to muscle it open,” Dural said.

The woman was not injured in the accident. After officers responded to the scene, many of them recognized them and asked him to pose for photographs.

McQuade, who described himself as an LSU fan, was not one of those who recognized Dural.

“It was a different experience,” the wide receiver said of the rescue.

Last season, Dural led the Tigers in receptions (37), receiving yards (758) and receiving touchdowns (seven), and was second in yards per catch (20.5).  Shortly after the end of the regular season, Dural announced that he would be eschewing early entry into the NFL draft and returning to the Tigers for another season instead.

Two glaring omissions headline Biletnikoff watch list

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It’s not often that who’s not on what’s essentially a meaningless preseason watch list is the main storyline, but that’s the case when it comes to the Biletnikoff Award this year.

First, who is on the watch list for the award handed out annually to the nation’s top wide receivers: a total of 48 players at the position, which is actually a rather subdued number compared to other watch lists that come out this time of the year.

Headlining the four dozen receivers actually listed is Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, who was a finalist for last year’s award that went to Alabama’s Amari Cooper.  Joining Higgins are 2014 semifinalists Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma and Nelson Spruce of Colorado.

Now, the players who was inexplicably excluded from the initial watch list? Auburn’s D’haquille Williams, first and foremost. The senior wideout was already named to the Maxwell Award watch list earlier this month. He’s considered by many to be the best receiver in the SEC — Mel Kiper has Williams as his No. 1 player at that position — yet four receivers from that conference are included.  The only receiver on the Biletnikoff watch list to also make Maxwell’s is South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper.

Williams missed three of the last four games last season because of an injury, yet still totaled 45 receptions for 730 yards and five touchdowns. Kiper may have him a bit overrated on his Big Board, but Williams certainly deserves one of the 48 spots allotted — or the award should at least make room for a 49th.  Or a 49th and 50th.

That said, Williams can, and probably will, be added to an in-season update from the folks at the Biletnikoff.  The same could be said for Player. No. 2: Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell.

Despite missing the last four games of the year because of a gruesome leg injury, Williams still led the Rebels in receptions with 48 and was second in yardage with 632.  Like Williams, Treadwell made the cut for the Maxwell, which is awarded annually to the best player in college football regardless of position.

Anyway, below is the complete Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Devonte Boyd, UNLV
Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
Ryan Burbrink, Bowling Green
KD Cannon, Baylor
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Rashon Ceaser, ULM
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
River Cracraft, Washington State
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Josh Doctson, TCU
Travin Dural, LSU
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin
William Fuller, Notre Dame
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Donovan Harden, Georgia State
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Ajalen Holley, ULM
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
Marcus Kemp, Hawaii
Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Mitch Mathews, BYU
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Jalen Robinette, Air Force
Demarcus Robinson, Florida
Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Hunter Sharp, Utah State
Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Shaq Washington, Cincinnati
Mike Williams, Clemson
Ron Willoughby, Buffalo

LSU avoids its annually massive early-entry defection

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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.

In 2013, it was 10 (11 if you count Tyrann Mathieu), and in 2014 it was seven; both of those were tops amongst all FBS programs.  In 2015?  That number is officially three.

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.

Travin Dural puts off NFL, will return to LSU

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More so than any other football program of late, LSU has been hit hard by early departures to the NFL.  At least on one front this year, however, the Tigers were spared such a hit.

In a conversation with Baton Rouge television sports reporter Michael Cauble Tuesday, Travin Dural confirmed that he will forego early entry into the NFL draft and return to LSU for another season.  A redshirt sophomore, Dural would be eligible for early entry into the NFL draft as he’s three years removed from high school.

LSU has lost 16 players to early entry the last two years, but, as noted by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the NFL has somewhat tweaked its procedures for this year’s class.

A maximum of five players from each school will receive a draft grade [from the NFL’s advisory panel] and the grades will be of three types: first round, second round or to return to school.

Regardless of the why, Dural’s return is a significant one.

In 2014, Dural was far and away the Tigers’ leader in receptions (37) receiving yards (758) and receiving touchdowns (seven).  The next closest was Trey Quinn‘s 17 catches and Malachi Dupre‘s 318 yards.