Offensive tackle La'El Collins said he will return to LSU for his senior seasion. (The Advocate)
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:56 AMFinally, some good news for LSU football.
After taking another big hit from juniors succumbing to the lure of the NFL draft, the Tigers won one on Tuesday when offensive tackle La’El Collins announced he would return for his senior season.
“My heart is at LSU,” said Collins, who was projected by most services as a second- or third-round draft choice.
“The biggest question is why I wouldn’t come back. Being around the atmosphere of the guys that you enjoy, day to day, coming back to finish, get my degree, have a chance at winning the national championship.”
Collins was joined at his news conference by four other juniors who said they made the decision to stay after considering leaving early.
They were: defensive ends Jermauria Rasco and Jordan Allen, center Elliott Porter, and running back Kenny Hilliard.
“To me, these guys really exhibited quality decision making and really the future path for young men in this program,” said LSU head coach Les Miles. “The decision, in my mind, gives them a long-term view of where they are. They are in a position of promoting educations. They want to enter the NFL in the highest possible positions.”
So does Collins — and he said he thinks another season with the Tigers will help him.
The Tigers are without an offensive line coach as Miles interviews candidates to replace Greg Studrawa, who left the program last week.
A second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection, he was a guard his first two seasons at LSU before moving to left tackle last season.
He said some NFL scouts liked him as a tackle, some as a guard.
“I’m a tackle at LSU and that’s all that matters,” he said.
“There’s countless things I can improve on. For me, I feel like I’ve got so much potential and room to grow. This decision really wasn’t that hard because I haven’t maxed out my potential here.
“Being able to come back and work on those things with Coach Miles and whoever we bring in is going to be big for me.”
Thus, with the deadline for applying for early entry being today, it appears the Tigers will lose six juniors, plus senior Alfred Blue, who was granted an extra year of eligibility due to past injuries.
Players with eligibility remaining who will enter the draft early include running back Jeremy Hill, wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, and offensive guard Trai Turner
LSU lost 11 juniors to the draft last season.