On the final day college players had to declare for the NFL draft, LSU starting left tackle Dare Rosenthal instead announced Monday night that he is returning to campus next season, which means the Tigers will be returning their entire starting offensive line.
The development is a major victory for LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who began the offseason by saying he would be focusing efforts on re-recruiting players for next season, particularly on the offensive line.
Rosenthal's decision was the final one LSU's line was waiting on, although Orgeron and several teammates have been hinting at his likely return for several weeks.
LSU starting right tackle Austin Deculus announced last week that he will be returning for next season, joining left guard Ed Ingram, center Liam Shanahan, and right guard Chasen Hines.
Rosenthal is the ninth LSU player to announce he's returning next season instead of entering the NFL draft.
While Deculus, a three-year starter, is the most veteran player to return on the offensive line, Rosenthal's addition solidifies tenure on the line's edges. Orgeron has often said he believes Rosenthal has great potential and can eventually become a high draft pick in the NFL.
The 6-foot-7, 327-pound Ferriday High graduate began seeing significant playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2019, when he started in three games at left tackle in relief of Saahdiq Charles.
Rosenthal played in seven games in 2020, started in five, and missed three games. Two of the games Rosenthal missed while serving a suspension. Orgeron did not disclose the reasoning for Rosenthal's suspension.
As a whole, LSU's offensive line will be improving on a disappointing title defense last year in which the Tigers couldn't produce a consistent run game and pass protection was often an issue.
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.
Orgeron also said in an radio interview with WWL Monday evening that he has re-hired Jorge Munoz as an analyst on his coaching staff. Munoz, who specialized in blitz protections in 2019, joins LSU from Baylor, where he was let go after spending one season as passing game coordinator for former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.