The LSU Tigers football team finally got some good news on Tuesday afternoon.
In a room full of teammates and coaches, offensive tackle La’el Collins announced his decision to return to school for his senior season, via The Times-Picayune’s Jim Kleinpeter:
Collins mentioned LSU’s future prospects as a large factor in his decision-making process.
“The 2014 LSU football team has a lot to look forward to,” Collins said at the end of his short address, via Kleinpeter’s report. “I look forward to being a part of it.”
The junior’s return is huge for the Tigers' offensive line.
After playing his first two seasons at guard, Collins switched to tackle before the start of the 2013 season. It was a move that paid off—he seemed to thrive, recording 56 knockdowns during the regular season.
For his efforts, Collins was named to the All-SEC Second Team.
Unfortunately for head coach Les Miles, Collins' decision was in the minority among the eight LSU underclassmen eligible for the NFL draft.
Six players chose to conclude their collegiate careers and make the leap to the pros, via Kleinpeter. The list includes: running back Jeremy Hill, guard Trai Turner, defensive tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson and wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
Running back Kenny Hilliard joined Collins in returning for the 2014 season.
This is just the latest evidence pointing to Miles’ inability to keep players in school. Just last season, the Tigers saw a total of 11 players leave early for the NFL draft.
Then again, it could also showcase Miles' ability to develop his players into NFL-caliber talent.
All in all, 2014 should be a year filled with optimism for LSU.