LSU vs Utah State014.JPG

LSU offensive lineman Austin Deculus (76) and guard Damien Lewis (68) are ready for the Utah State defense on Saturday.

LSU starting right tackle Austin Deculus announced Monday night that he will be returning for next season, adding yet another returning piece to an offensive line that now has four of its five starters officially coming back.

Starting left tackle Dare Rosenthal remains the only Tigers offensive lineman not to publicly announce his intentions, while left guard Ed Ingram, center Liam Shanahan, right guard Chasen Hines and Deculus have now made theirs known.

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Deculus, a three-year starter, is perhaps the most crucial piece to return on the offensive line. No lineman has started in as many games as Deculus has in his four-year career (34), and his 6-foot-6, 331-pound frame gives the Tigers an experienced big man on the outside edge in a year in which the unit is looking to rebound.

"This year will be like no other and it will test my greatest limitations," Deculus said in a statement posted on social media Monday. "Those limitations will be met and they will be broken. There is not a doubt in my mind that this year will be nothing short of rewarding and victorious."

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Deculus said he believes that "in a year from now," the Joe Moore Award Trophy for nation's best offensive line will return "where it belongs in Baton Rouge."

The Texas native who calls his father's hometown, Mamou, his own on LSU's official roster was a part of the LSU offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award in 2019, when the Tigers won the program's fourth national championship.

Performance up front slid significantly in 2020, when LSU ranked 96th nationally with 25 sacks allowed and 53rd with 47 tackles for loss allowed. Perhaps most troubling of all was LSU's consistent inability to run the ball effectively, ranking 109th nationally with 121.7 yards rushing per game.

Deculus is the eighth LSU player to announce he's returning next season instead of entering the NFL draft, and he's the sixth senior to take advantage of another season of eligibility.

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