There are those who believe that there is value in top-tier athletes choosing to stay in college and earning a four-year degree.
What's the rush to leave?
College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that simply can't be duplicated, right? It is a chance to build memories and relationships with friends that can last a lifetime.
I am one who is all for that...in most cases.
Of course student athletes need to be taught the importance of gaining a proper education, and what's wrong with gaining an undergraduate degree, especially from a fine university such as LSU?
But in the case of exceptional athletes, who contain both the skill level and maturity level to leave school early and make the move to the professional ranks, I say go for it.
Barkevious Mingo falls into that category.
In Mingo's case, it's not a question of whether or not his game is right for the NFL after two years as a starter at LSU. The timing is right. His NFL draft stock will not get any higher than it is right now. He has nothing left to prove at LSU.
Every year, there are certain college players who you look at and feel confident saying, "this guy is ready to go the next level."
Mingo falls into that category.
At 6'4", 240 pounds and with the ability to run a 4.5 40-yard dash, Mingo has the ideal makeup of a rush end at the NFL level.
Mingo recorded 12.5 sacks in his two years spent as a starter at LSU. He used his combination of size, strength and athleticism to wreak havoc on opposing SEC quarterbacks.
Sure, Mingo will be missed at LSU this season, but his contributions to this team will only push each future successor to work that much harder in trying to match his production on the gridiron.
Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco are two of the top candidates poised to replace Mingo in the upcoming 2012 season. Neither have started a game for LSU up to this point, but they sure have had a great role model over the past couple of seasons.
Transcendent players like Mingo don't come around all that often. They move to a quicker beat than most would like, taking them away to the next chapter earlier than most would prefer.
But ready or not, it was time for Mingo to leave, and it is time for him to make his impact at the NFL level.
Thursday's NFL draft serve as Mingo's graduation day.
He deserves it.