It's becoming the new normal, underclassmen bypassing their senior seasons to get to the NFL as soon as possible. With lucrative contracts on the horizon, it's not hard to see why, but LSU received perhaps an unexpected coup when starting left tackle La'el Collins decided to put the NFL on hold.
"For me, it's always been a dream to play in the NFL," Collins said. "I feel like I'm prepared to play in the NFL. I also know in my heart that my time here at LSU isn't complete. I came here to compete and build great relationships with the guys here that I call my teammates and my brothers and also earn a degree. This 2014 LSU team has a lot to look forward to and a lot to accomplish, and I look forward to being a part of that."
Several teammates joined Collins at today's press conference, including center Elliot Porter, running back Kenny Hilliard and defensive ends Jermauria Rasco and Jordan Allen, but clearly Collins has the most potential and will have the most impact of the group of seniors to be.
"It's great to see that type of player come back," Kenny Hilliard said. "We know what he's been through, and he's a great guy, and we know he's a top round pick."
"La'el Collins certainly is the highest potential draft pick on this group of men," Les Miles said. "They're all personal decisions, and they're all decisions that weigh education in a very significant piece in making it. I can tell you that when it came to making his decision, he gave great presence and value in having the degree from LSU."
And Les Miles said today he tells incoming recruits they have the chance to achieve three things: get a degree, play for championships and put themselves in the very best position possible for the NFL. Miles noted that with Collins deciding to come back for his senior season, the big fella will be able to follow through on all three.
"This does not undermine or in any way diminish decisions by other guys to leave," Miles said. "I think it's probable that we should include Jarvis Landry, Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham, Jr., Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson and Trai Turner. They went through the same process, made different decisions, but in fact, we support them. We enjoy them, we wish the best for them. They certainly are teammates, and we'll follow them fully. All of which we would have loved to have them here today, with the exception of that group are out of town and are pursuing getting in shape in preparation for the NFL Combine."
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