Report: LSU cornerback Jalen Collins likely to enter the NFL draft; defensive end Danielle Hunter leaning toward staying _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU cornerback Jalen Collins (32) celebrates as he comes off the field after his game-clinching interception with less than two minutes to go, in the game, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 in College Station, Texas. LSU won, 23-17.

The LSU football roster isn’t loaded with names from Tennessee.

Only three players — redshirt freshmen Josh Tharp and Frank Herron and senior Justin Maclin — are from the Volunteer State.

That said, hearing that the Tigers were scheduled to face Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in Nashville came as a pleasant surprise for junior cornerback Jalen Collins.

Collins was raised in Olive Branch, Mississippi, a city three hours southwest of Nashville. He said he often made trips to the Music City to visit the grandparents on his father’s side of the family.

“Being close from there and having family there, it’s kind of exciting for me because a lot of people that haven’t been able to see me play will have the opportunity to come and catch this bowl game,” Collins said.

Collins said he hasn’t received any requests for tickets from family members yet, but he’ll be expecting a few calls from his relatives.

“I know everybody out there tries to catch (an LSU) game on TV, but just having this opportunity to have the game in that town is exciting for all of us,” he said.

Hilliard, Porter in question

With nearly three weeks until the bowl game, LSU coach Les Miles said he was uncertain whether senior running back Kenny Hilliard and senior center Elliott Porter would be ready to play.

Hilliard suffered a shoulder injury against Alabama, knocking him out of the final two games of the regular season. Porter injured his right ankle in LSU’s 17-0 loss at Arkansas, causing him to miss the Tigers’ Thanksgiving game at Texas A&M.

“I don’t know that (Hilliard) will or won’t (play),” Miles said. “The time of the bowl gives us a chance, but I’m not certain.”

Miles added that he would “guess” that Porter would not play.

Miles fine with rankings

Ohio State jumping into the College Football Playoff on Sunday — and knocking TCU out of the mix — after its 59-0 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game Saturday caused plenty of consternation, online and off.

But Miles said he believes the selection committee got it right.

“I don’t know if I’m going to make any friends here, but I think they did,” he said. “I think if Ohio State could play as dominant a football team as they did against Wisconsin, I’d have to figure they’re pretty talented.”

No Michigan talk

Rumors swirled earlier in the week connecting Miles to Michigan’s coaching vacancy, but he avoided any comments on the topic Sunday.

“That’s not even a part of this conversation,” he said. “This is to promote our teams and look forward to (the bowl game). I’m not in any way giving any time to those questions, if you don’t mind.”

A pro atmosphere

The Music City Bowl, played in the Tennessee Titans’ LP Field, won’t be LSU’s first action in an NFL stadium this season. The Tigers played against Wisconsin in the season opener in the Houston Texans’ home of NRG Stadium.

“It’s really cool,” Porter said. “Getting to step on an NFL football team’s field, it’s just like a dream come true. We look forward to it.”

LSU sophomore defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said the Tigers will be ready for the environment.

“We’re always used to playing in big time places like that,” he said. “We’re ready for it. They’re going to bring all their fans, like we will. We’re going to take it like a neutral site like we did against Wisconsin.”


LSU senior running back Terrence Magee accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game. He joins Hilliard at the event, set for 3 p.m. Jan. 17 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. … LSU’s players will receive Fossil watches with the bowl logo as a gift for participating in the Music City Bowl. “I don’t have one, so I’ll be looking forward to that,” Magee said. … The Tigers are ranked No. 22 in The Associated Press Top 25, No. 23 in the coaches poll and No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff rankings.