LSU S Eric Reid, CB Tharold Simon leaving for 2013 NFL Draft

Eric Reid (No. 1) and Tharold Simon (No. 24) will forgo their final year of eligibility for the 2013 NFL Draft. (US Presswire)

The NFL announcements from Baton Rouge continued Friday, with safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tharold Simon officially declaring their intentions to leave LSU and enter the NFL Draft.

Both players have been primary contributors to the unit that helped LSU's defense rank in the top 10 nationally each of the last two seasons. Reid and Simon have eligibility left with the Tigers, but have elected to forgo that opportunity to pursue a professional career.

Reid earned First Team All-American honors this season after recording 91 tackles, seven pass break ups and two interceptions for the Tigers. He has been a mainstay in the back of the LSU defense, most memorably pulling in the game-saving interception against Alabama in their regular season meeting in 2011. He is ranked as the No. 1 free safety and No. 33 overall prospect by

"I want to thank coach (Les) Miles and all of the people that played a role to get me to this point in my life," Reid said in a statement. "This was a very difficult decision because I always wanted to be a Tiger and I love LSU. But, after careful consideration and talking with my family, I feel like this is the right time to make this decision. I will always be a LSU Tiger."

The departures of Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu opened the door for Simon to have a breakout year in 2012. The junior led the team in interceptions (four), pass break ups (nine), and recorded 45 tackles.

"I have loved every minute of being a LSU Tiger, and my heart will always remain at this incredible institution that taught me so much about being an athlete, student and person," Simon said in a statement. "I truly hope that I will be lucky enough to make an NFL roster and do LSU proud."

For all the latest on juniors declaring for the NFL Draft, check out our NFL Draft Early Entry Tracker.

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CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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