On Sunday morning LSU junior safety Craig Loston requested his Twitter followers stop asking him if he were going pro or staying for his senior season. Loston’s tweet surprised many because he seemed like one of the only draft-eligible juniors not mentioned as an early departure. Instead, LSU could have as many as 10 early entrants into April’s draft – an unprecedented number seven greater than any other season in Tiger football history.
With its underclassman exodus, LSU is positioning itself as the Kentucky of college football, selling recruits an advanced timetable to achieve millions. Kentucky’s basketball team, you might recall, had six players leave early for the NBA draft after it won the NCAA title in April 2012. All college football/basketball teams exist as farm clubs for their respective pro sports but these programs have set themselves apart as Triple A clubs.
While there’s nothing wrong with LSU coaches emphasizing this assembly line approach, the sheer mass of players leaving early in 2012 – both in talent and leadership – will present an interesting test case for college football. There is reloading, which all the great programs do on a yearly basis, and then there is RELOADING, which LSU and Coach Les Miles will attempt in 2013.
Here’s a breakdown of “LSU’s NFL Draft Exodus” and who I think will replace the Tigers departing early: