LSU lost a second underclassman to the NFL draft Thursday, and a third is telling players that he’s leaving, too.
Cornerback Jalen Collins announced on Twitter that he’s bypassing his senior season to declare for the NFL draft. Junior defensive back Jalen Mills has told several players on the team that he plans to declare, a source said.
Players have until Jan. 15 to decide on entering the draft. The Tigers have lost 17 players early to the draft over the previous two seasons, the most of any team.
Collins’ announcement follows one from linebacker Kwon Alexander on Wednesday, the same day defensive coordinator John Chavis bolted for the same job at Texas A&M. Collins and Alexander were thought to be leaning toward leaving early.
Collins had a solid freshman season before losing his starting job last year. He started six games this season, at times playing stiff man-to-man defense in replacement of suspended cornerback Rashard Robinson.
Collins has been listed as a third-round pick in some projections. He was given a “stay-in-school” grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee, he said this week. Alexander also was given a “stay-in-school” grade, two sources said.
On his Twitter account Thursday, draft analyst Michael Detillier called Collins a second- or third-round pick. LSU coach Les Miles and his staff advise players to remain in school if they aren’t guaranteed to be a first-round selection.
Mills started at safety this season with senior Ronald Martin after moving from his cornerback spot late last season. He played cornerback as a freshman in 2012, starting all 12 games.
Mills has had some legal troubles. He pleaded not guilty in October to a misdemeanor simple battery charge for allegedly punching a woman over the summer. His next court date is Jan. 27.
Offensive linemen Vadal Alexander, a junior, and Jerald Hawkins, a draft-eligible sophomore, and junior defensive end Danielle Hunter are weighing their options. Alexander said he was given a “stay-in-school” grade.
Those close to LSU feel optimistic about keeping Alexander and Hawkins, sources said.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.