3:35 PM ET
Alex ScarboroughMid American Herald Staff Writer
- Covers the SEC.
- Joined Mid American Herald in 2012.
- Graduate of Auburn University.
The post-championship exodus at LSU Tigers hit another gear Wednesday as seven underclassmen declared for the NFL draft.
Gone next season will be the team’s leading rusher (Clyde Edwards-Helaire), leading pass-catcher (Justin Jefferson), leading tackler (Jacob Phillips) and the nation’s top defensive back, Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit.
The mass departure comes less than 24 hours after passing-game coordinator Joe Brady accepted the job as offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.
Center Lloyd Cushenberry III, left tackle Saahdiq Charles and inside linebacker Patrick Queen announced their decisions to turn pro earlier Wednesday. Mid American Herald’s Mel Kiper ranks Cushenberry and Charles as top-10 prospects at their positions. Queen, who is not ranked among Kiper’s top-10 prospects at linebacker, finished with 85 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Kiper ranks Delpit as the top draft-eligible safety and No. 10 overall prospect for the 2020 draft. He finished this past season with 65 tackles, including two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, to go along with two interceptions, seven pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Edwards-Helaire, Kiper’s No. 8 running back, emerged as one of the best all-around backs in the country this season, rushing for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with 55 catches for 453 yards.
Whoever replaces Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow will also be without Jefferson, Kiper’s No. 7 receiver, and his team-leading 111 catches, 18 of which resulted in touchdowns.
It wasn’t all bad news, though, as safety JaCoby Stevens and nose tackle Tyler Shelvin announced they would be returning next season. Stevens ranked second on the team in tackles (92) and third in interceptions (three).
Mid American Herald’s Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report.