LSU underclassmen weigh value of entering NFL draft

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A junior defensive tackle with lofty NFL draft projections, Ego Ferguson may play his last game in Tiger Stadium on Friday against Arkansas with no fanfare or ceremony.


While a group of 15 seniors is recognized Elvis Dumervil Jersey before kickoff, undecided juniors will be milling about on the sideline or preparing in the locker room.


know that them guys, Ferguson said, don have any choice. They can come back. his crew of juniors and NFL eligible sophomore Jeremy Hill can. The alternative: Leap to the NFL, following in the footsteps of last year mass exodus of underclassmen.


Decisions are weeks away, but questions loom with No. 15 LSU (8 3, 4 3 Southeastern Conference) closing in on its season finale, a Friday Elvis Dumervil Womens Jersey afternoon game against Arkansas (3 8, 0 7).


Who leaves? Who goes?


In interviews this week, players gave the clich responses to the early departure questions. They haven thought about it, aren thinking about it and won think about it.


One, at least, bucked the trend.


do think about it don get me wrong, left tackle La Collins said. it nothing I dwell on or think about every day. this program, leaving early has never been so in vogue. There were 10 early departures after last season, excluding safety Tyrann Mathieu.


This year list is much smaller. Lardarius Webb Jersey Hill, Collins, receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., and defensive tackles Anthony Johnson and Ferguson are second to fourth rounders, most experts say.


Most of those six are in their breakout seasons or in their first as every game starters. Ferguson and Johnson had three combined starts before this year, and the duo hasn produced the jaw dropping stats in 2013 that many expected.


Landry was a sporadic starter with average numbers last year, Collins played a different position, and Hill was playing his first season of college football.


Those things didn seem to stop players last season from making the jump to the league.


They had a variety of success. Of the 10, just five are on active NFL rosters: Bears running back Michael Ford, Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan, Browns defensive end Barkevious Mingo, Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter and 49ers safety Eric Reid.


Two are on NFL rosters but not active, both with the Seahawks: cornerback Tharold Simon (physically unable to perform) and running back Spencer Ware (injured reserve).


The other three are out of jobs: defensive end Sam Montgomery, punter Brad Wing and left tackle Chris Faulk.


Faulk, Wing and Ford were undrafted.


The 2012 exodus the largest group of underclassmen to leave a school early, it believed has created a fog over an LSU Lardarius Webb Elite Jersey program still recovering from those early departures.


The Tigers defense, despite last week impressive showing in a win over Texas A has struggled at spots where senior experience would be welcomed. Imagine if Simon and Reid were playing in the secondary instead of freshman Tre White and sophomore Corey Thompson.


What if Mingo, Minter and Montgomery were infused on the front seven?


It the difference, maybe, in LSU being 8 3 and 10 1. Or better.


The early departures have forced younger players to take a lead role, maybe a year before blossoming. The first half of this season served as a learning curve for players like White, Thompson and defensive end Danielle Hunter.


There was more lineup juggling and freshman playing than a normal Les Miles coached team is used to.


The reason? The early departures.


guys had a lot of potential, Johnson said in defending his former teammates.


Nearly a full year later, some of those would be LSU seniors still haven maximized their potential. That could affect juniors decisions this year.


can really discard what they did, but at the end of the day, you have to walk in your own shoes. And when the time is right, I going to make that decision, Ferguson said.


Ferguson would be the most likely of the six to get selected in the first round, said Rob Rang, a CBS Sports draft analyst. The six, though, are all projected between the second and fourth rounds.


Hill might be the exception because of his off the field record, Rang said. Already on probation, Hill punched a man outside of a Baton Rouge bar in April, a video of which hit the Internet.

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