Lewis Neal returning to LSU for senior season

Arden Key, Lewis Neal and Christian LaCouture celebrate after a sack. (Travis Spradling)

Arden Key, Lewis Neal and Christian LaCouture celebrate after a sack. (Travis Spradling)

Defensive end Lewis Neal is returning to LSU for his senior year, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

Neal, one of a few draft-eligible juniors deciding on their future, passed on entering the NFL draft and will remain in school, he announced on Twitter on Thursday.
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Neal’s mother, Cynthia, said Thursday that her son’s decision wasn’t an easy one.

“The agents were talking to him. He did have to think about it,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s his choice. He thought about it thoroughly. … I’m happy for him. It’s his decision, his life, his future. I trust that he’s made the right decision now.”

Neal, a North Carolina native who led the team in sacks this season, was one of at least six draft-eligible LSU players mulling decisions to enter the draft. He’s the fourth of the group to make an announcement.

Left tackle Jerald Hawkins is the only one to announce his decision to leave for the draft. Center Ethan Pocic and defensive tackle Christian LaCouture both announced their intentions to stay. 

Linebacker Kendell Beckwith and cornerback Tre’Davious White, projected as second-round draft picks, have not made their decisions, their parents say. Underclassmen must declare by Monday.

White’s father, David, told The Advocate on Thursday morning that his son had not made a decision. Beckwith’s mother, Uhronda, said Monday that her son had not made a decision.

Neal started every game this season, despite playing with an injured ankle over the final month. His eight sacks led all players. Neal is listed as the ninth-best defensive end in the 2017 class, according to CBSSports.com.

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