Receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry will forgo their senior years and enter the NFL draft, Beckaham confirmed Monday, and the receiver said left tackle La’el Collins plans to return to LSU.
Collins was the lone holdout among LSU’s underclassmen making decisions – to go pro early or return to LSU. Underclassmen have until Wednesday to declare.
Beckham and Landry were expected to make the early leap to the pros. Collins had been “wrestling” with his decision, a source said last week. Beckham said he recently spoke to Collins. Collins made the decision because he envisions that he’ll be a first-round draft pick next year.
Collins was projected for selection in the second to third round in this year’s draft.
Collins’ return is a shred of positive for LSU on a gloomy day as a slew of news broke pertaining to LSU underclassmen Monday morning.
Running back Jeremy Hill and right guard Trai Turner both announced that they were declaring early. Running back Kenny Hilliard, according to a tweet, will return to LSU, and reserve running back Alfred Blue will not return, a spokesman said.
Defensive tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson had previously announced their intentions of jumping to the league early.
In all, LSU will lose seven players early to the draft this year with five coming on offense. The exodus comes a year after losing 10, excluding safety Tyrann Mathieu, who was dismissed before the season. Last year, LSU lost seven defensive players.
The hurt comes on offense in 2014. Beckham and Landry might be the biggest losses, though they were expected. The duo was the only pair of receivers to surpass 1,000 yards receiving in a single season in LSU history.
Beckham said he received a first-round grade from the NFL Advisory Board and that Landry received a “first or second round” grade.
Both receivers are out of the state training for the NFL Combine, set for Feb. 22-25. Beckham is in Arizona and Landry is in Florida. Beckham called the decision to turn pro “very difficult.”
“When you get a grade like that, it’s kind of like … you either take it and come back and risk … anything could happen,” Beckham said referring to his first-round grade. “It’s just a matter of, I got the grade back and it’s what I wanted.”
Collins’ return is a sigh of relief for a squad that lost its top runner, two top receivers, starting quarterback and starting right guard.
“It’s huge,” Beckham said of Collins returning. “He’s a big-time player.”
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