Les Miles isn’t preparing for a mass exodus this year.
Miles said Monday he’s spoken with “a couple” of juniors about leaving early for the NFL draft, and the coach feels this year’s crop won’t all leave the Tigers like the 2012 crew.
LSU lost 11 juniors to the draft last season, believed to be the most in college football history.
“I think that our guys are going to be confronted with similar situations and similar decisions,” he said, “and I think that there’s a likelihood that there will be a greater reception towards staying and being a part than leaving (for the NFL).”
The Tigers have a half-dozen impact juniors who may be playing in their final game when No. 14 LSU (9-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) meets Iowa (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
Receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson and left tackle La’el Collins are projected as second- to third-round draft selections.
Running back Jeremy Hill, a draft-eligible sophomore, is predicted to go between the second and fourth rounds.
Miles said this year’s team did a “very, very good job” handling the departure of the 11 juniors from last season.
“I think we were six plays away from playing in the final game (SEC title),” he said. “I think that we’re awfully close to being that team.”
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft. A record 73 underclassmen declared last year, and 52 were selected in one of the seven rounds.
Just six of LSU’s 11 juniors who left early last season are currently on active NFL rosters. Two of those are not on active rosters because of injuries.
Beckham an All-American
Beckham was named to the AP All-America Third Team as an all-purpose player.
He was LSU’s only representative on any of the three All-America teams. It’s another honor in a postseason full of them for the receiver and return man.
Beckham last week won the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile college football player.
Beckham, an AP All-SEC First Team member for all-purpose yards, was on a host of other All-American teams announced Tuesday.
He was a CBSSports.com First Team All-American for all-purpose and was second team all-purpose in Sports Illustrated’s All-American squad.
On CBSSports.com’s team, Beckham was also a third team receiver and third team kick returner. Hill, Mettenberger and linebacker Lamin Barrow all made SI’s honorable mention.
Beckham needs 175 all-purpose yards for the SEC single-season record, held by former Kentucky standout Randall Cobb.
Like … Bama?!
Asked what SEC squad is most like Iowa, Miles didn’t hesitate: It’s Alabama.
The Hawkeyes remind the coach of the No. 3 Crimson Tide because of their physical play, the plays they run and “the style of throws that they throw,” Miles said.
Iowa and Alabama are in the top 10 in total defense nationally. The Hawkeyes are seventh allowing 303 yards and Bama is fifth allowing 274.