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LSU defensive end Davon Godchaux (57) sacks Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight (8) for a loss during the second half of the LSU-Texas A&M game Thursday Nov. 24, 2016, at Kyle Field. LSU won 54-39.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

LSU defensive lineman Davon Godchaux will forego his senior season with the Tigers and enter the NFL draft early, he announced in a post on social media Sunday.

"I know in my heart this is the best choice for me and my son, Davon Montel Godchaux II," Godchaux, a Plaquemine native and three-year starter at LSU, wrote in an Instagram post. "Any time you leave your home and family it's difficult to do, but LSU will always be my family."

Godchaux's family situation likely played a factor. His mother Albertha has spent nearly a month in a hospital battling an ankle infection and then kidney issues. Davon's twin brother, Devin, is in jail, and his father owes thousands of dollars in child support, Albertha told The Advocate in a 2015 interview. He also must support his son, as he mentioned in the Instagram post.

Underclassmen have until Jan. 16 to declare for the draft. 

Godchaux joins running back Leonard Fournette as juniors who have announced their departure for the NFL, but several other Tigers could leave over the next two weeks. Safety Jamal Adams said Saturday that he will hold a news conference Friday to announce his decision. Adams is a projected first-round NFL draft pick that the staff expects to leave early.

"Some guys have made up their mind," coach Ed Orgeron said Saturday. “I believe if a guy's a sure-fire first-round pick he's going to go. That's just the way it is in college football."

Receiver Malachi Dupre said Saturday that he's not made a decision, and receiver D.J. Chark's plans are also not known. Defensive lineman Greg Gilmore, a fifth-year junior, said he's leaning to return for his senior season. 

Godchaux is ranked as the draft's seventh-best “3-4 defensive end” in WalterFootball.com’s rankings. In its most recent 2017 mock draft, Godchaux was selected in the middle of the third round, following running back Leonard Fournette (1st round; 5th pick overall), safety Jamal Adams (1st; 13th pick), center Ethan Pocic (2nd; 35th) and cornerback Tre’Davious White (2nd; 47th).

The NFL Draft Advisory Committee gave Godchaux a "stay in school grade," a source confirmed. The board hands players one of three grades: stay in school, second round or first round.

LSU will now likely lose six starters on defense with Godchaux's departure: seniors Lewis Neal, Tre'Davious White, linebackers Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith, Godchaux and Adams.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.