A player with an NFL future has -- finally, it seems -- elected to play his senior season at LSU and put off the draft for a year.
That player is All-SEC left tackle La'el Collins, who at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds likely would have been a high draft choice in May's 2014 draft. But LSU announced via its Twitter feed that Collins will play for the Tigers this fall and look to boost his stock:
Collins' decision is some good news for a Tiger program that badly needed some where the draft is concerned. A year after losing an FBS-high 10 players with eligibility remaining to the pros, LSU is set to lose seven more in tailbacks Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue, wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, defensive tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson and guard Trai Turner.
Turner's departure -- the most surprising of the bunch -- makes Collins' return a huge boost to the offensive line. But Collins has the opportunity for plenty of personal gain, too; the presence of players like Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio would have bumped Collins several notches down the 2014 pecking order at tackle, but the Baton Rouge native is currently the second-ranked tackle remaining in the class of 2015 according to NFLDraftScout.com. A big senior season could conceivably make him the first tackle chosen in the 2015 draft.
Even Collins' decision won't make up for the exodus of underclassmen talent out of LSU the past two offseasons. But there's no doubt it's better than the alternative.