The LSU Tigers will be replacing both starting inside linebackers.
Jacob Phillips announced that he is forgoing his senior season and declaring for the 2020 NFL draft. The 6-foot-4, 233-pound junior was LSU's leading tackler, a consistent starter in the Tigers defense.
"The past three years at LSU have been a dream come true," Phillips said in a post on social media. "I am and will forever be a champion. With that being said, I will be forgoing my senior year and declaring for the 2020 NFL draft."
Man makes his plans, God guides his steps pic.twitter.com/edxSmzr0wq— JP6 (@jacobphillips_1) January 15, 2020
Phillips is the fifth underclassman to declare early for the NFL draft, joining fellow inside linebacker Patrick Queen, safety Grant Delpit, wide receiver Justin Jefferson and center Lloyd Cushenberry. The declaration deadline is Monday.
Phillips started in all 15 games in 2019, and he recorded 113 tackles, 7½ tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
With a College Football Championship trophy in hand, a large group of Tigers now have an NFL decision to make.
The Nashville native was the No. 1 overall inside linebacker recruit when he signed with LSU in 2017, according to 247Sports, and he became one of the most sure tacklers in defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's scheme.
Phillips started in all but one game as a sophomore in 2018, missing the Florida game due to a torn labrum, and he created a force in the middle alongside Butkus Award winning linebacker Devin White.
Queen and Phillips emerged as the consistent starting rotation at inside linebacker during the 2019 season, and the LSU defense allowed 21 points per game against three postseason opponents.
LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson has declared for the NFL draft.
Phillips tied with Queen for the team lead in tackles (8) in LSU's 42-25 win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
The loss of both linebackers creates an interesting construction project for LSU coach Ed Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Sophomore Damone Clark is the frontrunner for at least one spot. The Baton Rouge native played in all 15 games and was the team's sixth-leading tackler with 50 total tackles.
Two days after a College Football Playoff title, LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry III is turning his sights to the NFL draft.
Sophomore Micah Baskerville often rotated in with the second-team defense. The Shreveport native played in 12 games, recorded 15 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack.
A position battle will likely emerge that will include true freshman Donte Starks and incoming signees Antoine Sampah and Josh White.