After passing game coordinator Joe Brady left for the NFL on Tuesday, the exodus of the national champion LSU Tigers continued Wednesday with five juniors declaring for the draft.
Safety Grant Delpit, wide receiver Justin Jefferson, center Lloyd Cushenberry and linebackers Patrick Queen and JacobPhillips all announced their decisions Wednesday, two days after helping the Tigers defeat Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship game.
The highest-rated prospect as a likely first-round pick, Delpit wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, "We are champs. We hoisted the trophy for you and LSU fans everywhere. I've decided to move on to the NFL. I will carry the joy and excitement of this season with me forever."
The 2019 Thorpe Award winner and two-time All-American tallied six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in LSU's 42-25 victory over Clemson, completing a perfect 15-0 season.
Delpit's three-year totals include 199 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, eight interceptions and 32 passes defensed in 40 games.
Widely pegged as a first- or second-rounder, Jefferson made his announcement to Yahoo Sports, saying, "We just had a perfect year. We won the national championship and set records. We had a lot of awards and did it with our team. I feel like it was the best way to go."
A former two-star recruit on Rivals.com, Jefferson racked up 111 catches -- third-most in SEC history -- for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, including 14 grabs for 227 yards and four first-half scores of the CFP semifinal win over Oklahoma.
He added nine catches for 106 yards against Clemson, finishing his career with 165 grabs for 2,415 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Queen, who announced his decision on Twitter, is viewed by most outlets as a second- or third-round prospect. A speedy 227-pounder, he racked up eight tackles (2.5 for loss) and a half-sack while earning Defensive MVP honors in the national title game.
He finishes his career with 131 tackles (17.5 for loss), four sacks, an interception and three pass breakups in 41 games.
Cushenberry, rated by some as the draft's top center, also announced his decision on Twitter, writing, "It's been a dream of mine since I was 8 years old to play in The National Football League. Now it's time to turn my dreams into reality."
Considered a probable second-round pick, Cushenberry started all 28 games over his final two seasons and graduated early in December.
Phillips, who is considered a late-round prospect, led LSU with 113 tackles, including 7.5 for loss and one sack, this season. He and Queen served as the team's starting inside linebackers.
Several other Tigers underclassmen are expected to consider declaring for the draft before Friday's deadline, including cornerback Kristian Fulton, edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Brady is leaving LSU after one season to join the Carolina Panthers as offensive coordinator.
--Field Level Media