LSU’s best receiving duo ever apparently will go pro early.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are forgoing their senior years and will enter the NFL draft, multiple outlets reported Sunday.
Team spokesman Michael Bonnette said he could not confirm that the players had made a decision on their future, but he said Landry and Beckham would announce their plans this week.
The pair, expected to leave early, join defensive tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson as LSU draft-eligible players who have declared for the draft.
Yahoo Sports first reported the news through unnamed sources.
This season, Landry and Beckham became the first LSU duo to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in the same year. Both finished in the top 10 in career receptions at LSU and career 100-yard receiving games. Landry finished seventh in career receiving yards.
Landry finished with 77 catches and 1,193 yards in 2013, while Beckham had 59 receptions for 1,152 yards. Beckham’s 2,315 all-purpose yards this season rank second on the SEC’s all-time list.
Landry and Beckham are projected to be selected in the top two rounds of the draft, set for May. Beckham is a first- to second-round pick, and Landry is slotted as going in the second round, according to CBSSports.com. The site lists Beckham as the fifth-best receiver in the draft and Landry the ninth-best.
“Landry of course is the more polished of the two,” said Rob Rang, draft analyst for CBSSports.com. “It seems like he catches everything thrown his way. Beckham is just a dynamic athlete. I think both project very well to the NFL.”
Rang said this year’s receiver class is “stacked” and that it’s possible one of the wideouts could fall to the third round.
Six draft-eligible LSU players are projected to be selected in the top four rounds: Johnson, Beckham, Landry, Ferguson, running back Jeremy Hill and left tackle La’el Collins.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare.
A source said Sunday that Hill was expected to meet with coach Les Miles early this week. An announcement on his future could come as early as Monday.
On Friday, right guard Trai Turner, a redshirt freshman, joined Athletes’ Performance, a company that prepares players for the NFL Combine, set for Feb. 22-25.
Turner, who like Hill did not play his true freshman season and thus is draft-eligible, was not in the group of players thought to make the early leap. Turner is not listed in CBSSports.com’s list of top 56 guards in this year’s draft. Bonnette could not confirm whether he had declared early.
Johnson’s and Ferguson’s departures were expected. Johnson has signed with Monroe-based agency ProSource Sports, and so did senior safety Craig Loston.
LSU has now lost its two starting defensive tackles and starting receivers a year after losing a whopping 10 underclassmen to the draft, excluding dismissed defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. LSU has lost 20 underclassmen to the draft in the past four years.
The loss of Beckham and Landry hurts, though their departures were expected. The pair combined to catch 136 passes for 2,345 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. LSU’s next two receivers, Kadron Boone and Travin Dural, had 14 catches for 274 yards and four scores.
Johnson and Ferguson were 12th and fifth on the team in tackles. Johnson led the squad with nine tackles for loss.
The backups at receiver and defensive tackle are inexperienced.
At tackle, Christian LaCouture, a true freshman last year, and Quentin Thomas, a rising junior, have combined for one start and 20 tackles in their careers.
At receiver, LSU loses Landry’s backup, the senior Boone, and returns Beckham’s No. 2, Dural.
Dural, a redshirt freshman from Breaux Bridge, has not started a game. Another option at the position includes junior-college transfer Quantavius Leslie. He played in four games this year and caught one pass.
LSU has three receivers committed for the 2014 signing class: Trey Quinn, a four-star recruit from Lake Charles; three-star Tony Upchruch out of Texas; and three-star D.J. Chark of Alexandria.
The Tigers are chasing highly rated John Curtis receiver Malachi Dupre, who most feel is leaning toward LSU. The Tigers lost out on Edna Karr High wideout Devante “Speedy” Noil, who committed to Texas A&M last week.