By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
LSU will lose just a single underclassman to the NFL Draft — its lowest total since 2010.
The school announced Monday afternoon that both cornerback Tre’Davious White and linebacker Kendell Beckwith have decided to return to school for their senior seasons. The pair of All-SEC performers were each projected to be picked in the first three rounds had they declared.
“These are special guys,” LSU coach Les Miles said of Beckwith and White. “They have a real fondness and enjoyment for this football team. They are leaders; Kendell makes all the calls from the Mike linebacker spot and Tre’Davious wears No. 18, which has always been the mark of a leader.
“Decisions like this aren’t easy to make. These guys took their time, got all of the information necessary to make a real educated and quality decision.”
White and Beckwith join fellow juniors Travin Dural, Ethan Pocic, Christian LaCouture and Lewis Neal in returning to form one of the largest senior classes of the Miles Era. LSU has lost 25 underclassmen to the NFL Draft since 2011.
LSU is set to return nine starters from its primary nickel defense, and with only left tackle Jerald Hawkins declaring early for the NFL Draft, the Tiger offense will return nine starters as well.
“This is a windfall for us,” Miles said of the group of juniors coming back for another year at LSU. “For the first time, we return a big senior class. Anytime that you have a senior dominated team, you recognize that you are going to play with leaders, and guys always play their best year of football when they are most mature.
“This is a great decision for all of these guys. They are going to get their college degree and they will all improve their draft position. This is a great day for LSU and our program.”
LB Kendell Beckwith statement on his decision to return to LSU:
“After a lot of prayer and careful consideration about the 2016 NFL Draft, and after speaking with my family and Coach Miles at great lengths, I have decided to return to LSU for my senior season. I feel as if I have a lot of unfinished business here at LSU. I want to give a special thank you to my family and friends who have been extremely supportive in helping me achieve my goals and especially during this decision. They’ll continue to be an important part of my journey and I’m so grateful for their guidance and love. I have made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime here at LSU, and I’m so humbled to even be in the position that I am today. Tiger stadium is without a doubt the best place on Earth to play college football and I cannot wait to be back there on Saturdays in front of our unbelievable fans.”
CB Tre’Davious White statement on his decision to return to LSU:
“After careful consideration and gathering as much information as possible about the draft process, I feel that it’s in my best interest to return to LSU for my senior season. I want to thank my family, Coach Miles and the LSU staff for their support during this process. Decisions like this are never easy to make. Getting a college degree and becoming the first member of my family to graduate from a school like LSU has always been important to me. Playing in Tiger Stadium in front of our great fans is something that I just wasn’t ready to say good bye to. I’m going to leave LSU with a degree and do everything that I can to help this team compete for a national title.”