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LSU's Collins returning for his senior season

La'el Collins returning for his senior season La'el Collins returning for his senior season
Head coach Les Miles addresses the media Head coach Les Miles addresses the media

Redemptorist High School and LSU starting left tackle La'el Collins will return for his senior season.

"For me, it's always been a dream to play in the NFL and I feel like I'm prepared to play in the NFL," Collins said. "I also know in my heart that my time here at LSU isn't complete. I came here to compete and build great relationships with the guys here that I call my teammates and my brothers and also earn a degree. This 2014 LSU team has a lot to look forward to and a lot to accomplish, and I look forward to being a part of that.

"I definitely look forward to being around these guys, great coaches and great teammates. The bigger question is, why wouldn't I come back? You're going to be around an atmosphere of guys that you enjoy going out to games and practice with day to day. I'm coming back to finish and get my degree and to have a shot at a national championship next year."

The star left tackle, known as a powerful run blocker, was named to the 2013 All-SEC Second Team. He started his career at guard before moving to the left tackle spot.

Collins was a bright spot for the Tigers last season and his returning for the 2014 season is some much needed good news for the LSU coaching staff.

Collins is projected by some draft experts to be a first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

"When we recruit these guys, we tell them that the goals are your degree, that you play for a championship and that you put yourself in the best position to be drafted to go to the NFL," LSU coach Les Miles said. "It is very much a personal decision. Everyone makes this decision in a way that promotes their view of those three things: education, play for a championship and enter the NFL.

"To me, these guys really have exhibited quality decision-making and really the future path for young men in this program. This decision in my mind gives them a long-term view of who they are. They are all in a position of promoting education, and they want to enter the NFL at the highest possible position."

The announcement by Collins comes a day after several players decided to leave LSU for the NFL Draft.

On Monday, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Trai Turner, Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill all announced their intention to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

In Jeremy Hill's 2013 breakout season he ran for 1,401 yards, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns.
The Redemptorist star finished his LSU career in style against Iowa, running for 216 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.

Hill's departure opens the door for LSU's coveted running back recruit Leonard Fournette from St. Augustine in New Orleans. Fournette verbally committed to the Tigers during the UA All-American Game on January 2.

Running back Kenny Hilliard will also join Fournette and Terrence Magee in the Tiger backfield in 2014. Hilliard passed on an NFL opportunity deciding instead to return for his senior season.

Hilliard ran for 310 yards and seven touchdowns last year, while Magee added 626 yards and eight touchdowns.

Landry had a huge 2013 season, catching 77 passes for 1193 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Beckham Jr. added 59 receptions for 1152 yards with a 19.5 yard average per catch. He finished the season with eight receiving touchdowns.

Trai Turner, in a statement released by his agent Peter Schaffer, also made the announcement that he would be leaving LSU for the NFL. Turner was a second team AP All-SEC selection.

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