LSU hit hard by NFL draft: Ten juniors, have decided to leave the Tigers to play pro football

LSU hit hard by NFL draft: Ten juniors, have decided to leave the Tigers to play pro football

January 10th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

SEC Southeastern Conference

SEC FOOTBALL UNDERCLASSMEN

LEAVING FOR NFL

Arkansas RB Knile Davis

Arkansas OL Alvin Bailey

Auburn DE Corey Lemonier

Florida S Matt Elam

Florida DT Sharrif Floyd

Florida LB Jelani Jenkins

Florida TE Jordan Reed

Georgia NG Kwame Geathers

Georgia LB Jarvis Jones

Georgia LB Alec Ogletree

LSU OT Chris Faulk

LSU RB Michael Ford

LSU DT Bennie Logan

LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu*

LSU DE Barkevious Mingo

LSU LB Kevin Minter

LSU DE Sam Montgomery

LSU S Eric Reid

LSU CB Tharold Simon

LSU RB Spencer Ware

LSU P Brad Wing

Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson

South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

Tennessee QB Tyler Bray

Tennessee WR Justin Hunter

Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Tennessee DE Darrington Sentimore

Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel

Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore

  • did not play this past season

NOTABLES STAYING

Alabama QB AJ McCarron

Alabama LB C.J. Mosley

Florida DE Dominique Easley

Georgia QB Aaron Murray

Tennessee OT Ja'Wuan James

Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews

YET TO ANNOUNCE

Alabama OT D.J. Fluker

Alabama RB Eddie Lacy

Alabama CB Dee Milliner

Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews

The LSU Tigers began this past college football season ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll.

They won't start the 2013 season on top.

Ten LSU juniors have elected to forego their final season in Baton Rouge and enter the NFL draft, including the talented defensive end tandem of Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery. Throw in cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist who was kicked off the team this past August, and the number swells to 11.

"We are fortunate at LSU to be able to recruit the style of high-school player that can develop very quickly into an NFL-caliber athlete," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We invest in them, coach them and prepare them for the next step of their career. Generally speaking, every one of these guys is in position to return to school to get their degree, and one [linebacker Kevin Minter] has already graduated.

"We recruit very talented players with the understanding that there is a choice they may have to make following their junior year. It's an individual decision and one that has to do with them and their family."

LSU finished the 2011 regular season with a 12-0 record before roaring past Georgia 42-10 in the SEC title game. The Tigers had defeated Alabama 9-6 in overtime at Tuscaloosa, but they were throttled by the Crimson Tide 21-0 in last January's BCS title rematch in New Orleans.

They went 10-2 this past season before losing to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd announced Wednesday that he was returning, a decision Miles has received in recent days only from safety Craig Loston.

"I met with each player and provided them with as much information as I have so that they can make a quality decision in regards to their future," Miles said. "We wish these guys great fortune as they pursue this next step."

Alabama had not announced any player departures as of Wednesday evening, but it is expected that right tackle D.J. Fluker and cornerback Dee Milliner will declare. Tailback Eddie Lacy, who rushed for 321 combined yards in the SEC championship and the BCS championship, is also likely to leave.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare is Tuesday.

LSU isn't the only SEC school bidding multiple farewells, as Florida and Tennessee are losing four players each. Safety Matt Elam, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Jelani Jenkins and tight end Jordan Reed are the Gators who have declared, while the Volunteers are losing quarterback Tyler Bray, receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, and defensive end Darrington Sentimore.

Georgia has lost linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree and nose guard Kwame Geathers, who went public with his decision Wednesday. Texas A&M has lost tackle Luke Joeckel and defensive end Damontre Moore, with tackle Jake Matthews yet to decide.

Longtime ESPN analyst Mel Kiper has Jones, Moore and Joeckel as the top three overall prospects in April's draft, and he has Ogletree seventh, Mingo eighth and Milliner 10th. Kiper has 10 SEC underclassmen among his top 24 prospects and 12 SEC players total, which includes Alabama senior guard Chance Warmack (No. 5 prospect) and Georgia senior nose guard John Jenkins (No. 20).

Alabama hires Brown

Greg Brown, who spent the past two seasons as Colorado's defensive coordinator, was hired Wednesday as Alabama's secondary coach.

Brown served as Arizona's co-defensive coordinator in 2010 before leaving for Colorado and has a background that includes 15 years as an NFL assistant. He replaces Jeremy Pruitt, who was hired last month as Florida State's defensive coordinator but coached the Tide on Monday night.