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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) hold the championship trophy as he celebrates with LSU safety Grant Delpit (7) after the CFP National Championship Game against Clemson at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. LSU won 42-25.

LSU safety Grant Delpit has declared for the NFL draft, foregoing his final season of collegiate eligibility.

The decision is not unexpected. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound junior is projected as a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL draft, and he helped lead the Tigers to their fourth national championship Monday night in a 42-25 win over Clemson in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"We are champs," Delpit wrote in a post on social media. "We hoisted the trophy for you and LSU fans everywhere. I've decided to move on to the NFL. I will carry the joy and excitement of this season with me forever."

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Delpit is the first LSU underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft. The declaration deadline is Monday.

Delpit grew up idolizing elite LSU defenders like Tyrann Mathieu, and he ends his career in Baton Rouge among such greats.

This season, Delpit won the Jim Thorpe Award for nation's top defensive back, joining former LSU cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne as the third player in school history to win the award.

Within a highly decorated career, Delpit was a consensus All-American in 2019, a unanimous All-American and a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy for nation's top defender in 2018.

Born in New Orleans, Delpit's family relocated to Houston after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He then attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, becoming a high school All-American.

Delpit started as a true freshman at LSU in 2017, when he finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles. But it was his sophomore season, in 2018, when Delpit emerged as one of the top defensive backs in school history.

Delpit led the Southeastern Conference with five interceptions in 2018, a season that showcased his knack for making plays based on instinct. He forced a fumble in a 36-16 win over No. 2 Georgia — what was then the biggest victory in LSU coach Ed Orgeron's tenure — and he stopped a fake field goal attempt that turned momentum at the start of the game.

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Although Delpit was recognized as the nation's top defensive back in 2019, his final season was mired in ups and downs due to an ankle injury that plagued him for most of the season.

Delpit played through the injury when he recorded two tackles in LSU's historic 46-41 victory over Alabama. Playing "wasn't a question," Delpit said at the time. He said he told the LSU staff to "strap me up, tape it, do whatever you gotta do, but I'm on that field."

Issues flared in LSU's 58-37 win at Ole Miss, and Orgeron rested Delpit against Arkansas. After the one-game rest, Delpit finished with one of his stronger performances of his career.

Delpit recorded an interception in the 50-7 victory over Texas A&M in the regular season finale, a sack and a tackle for loss in the 37-10 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, and he closed the season with another sack and tackle for loss in LSU's win over Clemson for the national title.

"I look forward to the next chapter," Delpit wrote. "God bless!"

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Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.