Draft-eligible junior receiver Malachi Dupre on Tuesday shot down a report last week that said he plans to enter the NFL draft.
“It’s not true. I’m undecided,” Dupre said. “That report was not true.”
Dupre, a New Orleans native and draft-eligible junior, says he’s focused on LSU’s game against Louisville in the Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31 and that he was “surprised” to see a report last week linking him to going pro.
Tony Pauline on draftanalyst.com reported that Dupre planned to enter the draft. The signing deadline for all underclassmen is Jan. 16. Of LSU’s handful of draft-eligible players, only running back Leonard Fournette has declared for the draft.
Safety Jamal Adams, projected as a top-20 pick, is expected to join Fournette in turning pro. Adams was coy about his decision last week, telling reporters that he’s focusing on the 2017 Heisman Trophy. He stands to make a signing bonus of more than $5 million and a contract worth much more.
Dupre is projected as a second- to third-round draft pick. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound former John Curtis star signed with LSU in 2014 as ESPN.com's No. 1-ranked receiver prospect in the nation. Before this season, some draft analysts expected the athletic and speedy Dupre to finish this year with first-round value, but he began the year slow, dropping a host of passes before rebounding.
LSU players are trying their best to lift Kendell Beckwith's spirits.
Dupre is first on the team in catches (34) and yards (454). He's averaging 13.4 yards a catch and is tied with D.J. Chark for the team lead with three touchdown receptions.
It's unclear if Orgeron's hire of offensive coordinator Matt Canada on Wednesday will affect Dupre's decision.
“Coach Canada and I still have to talk and sit down and he has to tell me what he needs to tell me,” Dupre said Tuesday. “Main objective right now is worrying about this team and beat Louisville. I’m 100 percent bought into this team. I’ve been here for three years, and I’ve enjoyed every second of that, and I look forward to my future here, whatever that may be.”
There are several other draft-eligible underclassmen on the team, including defensive linemen Davon Godchaux, Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron, and receiver D.J. Chark, offensive tackle K.J. Malone and redshirt sophomore Will Clapp.
Clapp said Tuesday that he has no interest in the draft and will return for his redshirt junior season. Gilmore is leaning to return, he said.
Gilmore, a first-year starter at nose guard, requested and received a draft grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee. He would not reveal details, except to say it “pleased” him and discussed his potential “upside” if he remained in school.
“I think I want to say, though, just for that reason – so much upside coming from that draft thing,” Gilmore said. “I can graduate in the spring and do myself a favor. Make my mom happy.
“I told myself, if I can just make the jump I did from last year to this year, the same amount, from this year to next year, I’d be a pretty good player.”