Winning the College Football Playoff national championship game brought more joy to Louisiana State University fans (and even Clemson Tigers haters) than they’ve seen in years. If “America’s Team” existed in college football, the LSU Tigers earned that title any way you dice.
Head coach Ed Orgeron’s personality and enthusiasm matches the school. The death of offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s daughter-in-law, Louisiana-based sports reporter Carley McCord, brought empathy and spirit from every corner of the United States. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow’s rags-to-riches story is impossible not to enjoy. No matter where you’re from, there was something to love about LSU.
However, winning a national title came with a hefty price, and the Tigers were left shredded like a street racing accident and completely exposed.
LSU Players Entering 2020 NFL Draft
To begin with, here are the senior starters who will not be back next season:
Joe Burrow, quarterback
Adrian Magee, offensive guard
Damien Lewis, offensive guard
Rashard Lawrence, defensive end
Michael Divinity, outside linebacker
Kristian Fulton, cornerback
Blake Ferguson, longsnapper
Next, these are the underclassmen starters who chose to forego their senior season, capitalize on LSU’s team success, and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft:
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back
Justin Jefferson, wide receiver
Thaddeus Moss, tight end
Lloyd Cushenberry III, center
Saahdiq Charles, offensive tackle
K’Lavon Chaisson, edge rusher
Jacob Phillips, linebacker
Patrick Queen, linebacker
Grant Delpit, safety
Finally, two key members of the LSU coaching staff are leaving.
Passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who is credited for implementing LSU’s record-setting offense last season, will become the new offensive coordinator of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Also, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is on the move and will replace Matt Rhule as head coach of the Baylor Bears.
All told, that means 10 All-SEC selections from last year, two of which were All-Americans, and more than half the team’s offensive and defensive starters need replaced. Some of these decisions aren’t surprises, but it still means major changes are coming for a team that’s being dubbed one of the greatest in college football history.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft is Friday, January 17. With 135 underclassmen declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft last year, this year’s announcements are on pace to break that record once again.
There are some notable names returning, however.
Defensive backs Kary Vincent and JaCoby Stevens are coming back. Starting right tackle Austin Deculus improved greatly and will be back as a senior. Defensive linemen Glen Logan and Tyler Shelvin could’ve tested the NFL waters, but confirmed that they’ll be back.
Reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase still has one year of eligibility before the sure-fire first-round pick turns pro. Shutdown cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. is coming back after an All-American freshman season. Myles Brennan, recruited as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback out of high school, is expected to take over as starting quarterback in his redshirt junior season.
A ton of good came from winning the CFP title game. LSU is bringing in the nation’s fifth-ranked recruiting class to Baton Rouge, highlighted by five-star players Arik Gilbert (Marietta, GA) and Elias Ricks (Bradenton, FL).
However, things are going to look a lot different when the lights go on at Tiger Stadium for the 2020 season.