A few draft-eligible juniors have told LSU coach Les Miles that they’d be returning for their senior seasons, but the coach declined to reveal their names.
Miles said his confidence in keeping a large number of the draft-eligible players is “good,” and coaches, as of Sunday, were deciding what five players will request evaluations from the NFL Draft College Advisory Committee, he said.
LSU has lost 23 players to the NFL draft over the last four years – believed to be more than any other college team. At least four juniors this year are draft-eligible and highly touted in NFL draft projections.
Linebacker Kendell Beckwith, cornerback Tre’Davious White, receiver Travin Dural and left tackle Jerald Hawkins are all projected for selection in the top three rounds of the draft. White is ranked as high as the No. 4 cornerback among draft-eligible players, according to CBSSports.com. The site projects him as a first-round pick.
Center Ethan Pocic and defensive linemen Lewis Neal and Christian LaCouture are other draft-eligible starting players.
As of Sunday night, Miles said LSU had not submitted the minimum of five evaluation requests to the advisory committee, made up of personnel evaluators from NFL clubs and scouting directors.
The committee returns one of three grades to players: first round, second round or remain in school. Schools are allowed to petition the committee to expand beyond five requests. Underclassmen have until Jan. 18 to enter the draft.
The grades are the most important information for players, Miles said.
After grades are returned, the coach said LSU will “run it down with our personal sources and we’ll talk about what would be insurance necessities and really give them the information we have.”
LSU covers insurance costs for players, protecting them if they were to sustain an injury – something allowed, to a certain extent, by the NCAA.
Texas Bowl ‘trending towards’ sellout
The Texas Bowl is 10,000 tickets away from a sellout, said David Fletcher, the executive director of the bowl.
About 60,000 tickets have been sold to the game pitting No. 22 LSU (8-3) and Texas Tech (7-5) on Dec. 29 at the 71,500-seat NRG Stadium.
Fletcher said he’s “confident” the game will sellout.
“We’re very much trending towards what we will imagine will be a sellout,” he said. “Large part due to the fan base.”
LSU announced Tuesday that the school has sold its allotment of 8,500 tickets. Texas Tech has sold all but 2,000 of its allotted 10,500 allotment, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Lubbock, Texas, is about an eight hour’s drive from Houston, and Baton Rouge is just a four-hour haul. LSU’s largest non-Louisiana alumni base is located in Houston.
The 60,000 already sold includes both allotments – even the 2,000 unsold by TTU – and about 35,000 more presold tickets to the game even before the pairing was announced.
On the recruiting trail
Miles flew to Houston on Tuesday for a joint Texas Bowl press conference with Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. That’s not the only reason.
Houston is a hot recruiting bed for LSU, and the Tigers coach planned to stay in the area to visit prospects during the NCAA’s contact period. The contact period ends Sunday.
“We recruit here. I have to be very honest with you, I got off the plane today and realized it was a press conference,” Miles said. “I knew I was going to go recruiting here. That happens after we leave.”
LSU will begin bowl practice on Dec. 14, after final exams. The Tigers will conduct about 12 practices. … Joe Tessitore, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack and Maria Taylor are the broadcast team assigned to the Texas Bowl, scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff at 8 p.m. Dec. 29.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.