By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL/Designated Writers
Apparently, the allure of the locker room sleeping pod isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It may not be in droves, but LSU football players are leaving the team in startling numbers.
What once was a trickle has now turned into full-fledged open faucet. A defensive end here, a cornerback there is one thing. But on Monday, the Tigers lost a sure-fire top pick in the morning and a possible first-rounder in the afternoon. You can’t blame LSU coach Ed Orgeron if he “forgot” to charge his cell phone Monday night.
What’s most confounding about it all is the timing. The Tigers have begun practice for whatever season there might be and yet two star players (Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Shelvin) abruptly put an end to their LSU careers to get ready for the NFL. While nobody was looking, defensive end TK McClendon also entered the transfer portal. That makes four defensive linemen, one cornerback plus the best receiver in college football (well, not anymore).
Players moving in and out of a program has become far more common than it used to be, but it’s the circumstances that make this more curious. These are guys with eligibility remaining who are just going to sit it out and train for six months in anticipation of the NFL draft.
Is this just a one-off year because of the virus? Or might this be a sign of the times? It wasn’t that long ago that players sitting out bowl games to get ready for the draft was considered radical. But to miss an entire year? And to bolt just a few weeks before the season started?
Everybody’s got their own reasons for the decisions they make. Who’s to say whether the advice is good or bad. It may be an LSU problem right now, but everybody else in college football will be holding their collective breath waiting to find out it it becomes their problem too.