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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates with LSU offensive guard Ed Ingram (70) and LSU offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles (77) after Burrow scored in the first half between LSU and Clemson in the National Championship, Monday, January 13, 2020, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.

The LSU Tigers will have to find a new starting left tackle.

Saahdiq Charles has declared for the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound junior is the sixth underclassmen to forgo his final season at LSU, joining center Lloyd Cushenberry, safety Grant Delpit, linebacker Patrick Queen and wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Paired with the departure of Charles and Cushenberry, the LSU offensive line will also lose starting guards Adrian Magee and Damien Lewis due to expired eligibility.

The only starting offensive linemen who remains is junior right tackle Austin Deculus, who has yet to declare his intentions.

The declaration deadline is Monday.

"After a lot of thought, I have decided to declare for the NFL draft," Charles wrote in a social media post. "I look forward to sharing this next chapter of my life with all of you. The best is yet to come."

Charles leaves LSU with a shaky history. He had a productive stretch in the postseason, a string of impressive games that followed his missing six games in the regular season for disciplinary reasons that LSU coach Ed Orgeron called "coach's decisions."

The Mississippi native was one of the reasons LSU's offensive line went from a weakness in 2018 to the winners of the 2019 Joe Moore Award given annually to the nation's most outstanding offensive line.

"My journey at LSU has been nothing short of amazing," Charles wrote. "The last 3 years have been 3 of the best years of my life. I am blessed and thankful for the opportunities that LSU has provided me."

Redshirt freshman Dare Rosenthal is one of the leading candidates to replace Charles. The 6-foot-7, 314-pound Ferriday graduate started in Charles' place in three games against Northwestern State, Utah State and Mississippi State.

True freshman Anthony Bradford is another possibility. The 6-foot-7, 244-pound Michigan native was recruited as an offensive tackle, although he has practiced at times with the guards.

A position battle will unfold in the spring, which will determine who will protect the next starting quarterback's blind side.


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Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.