NEW ORLEANS — Nine members of the LSU Tigers' championship team have declared for National Football League Draft following their national title victory Monday night in New Orleans.
Safety Grant Delpit, linebacker Patrick Queen, receiver Justin Jefferson, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire offensive lineman Lloyd Cushenberry, offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles, tight end Thaddeus Moss, linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson and linebacker Jacob Phillips, nine key pieces of LSU's championship-winning offense and defense, will give up their remaining college eligibility to play professional ball.
All made their announcements Wednesday through Friday; Cushenberry, Delpit and Queen with tweets to their followers and Jefferson in an interview with Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports.
“We just had a perfect year,” Jefferson said to Yahoo!. “We won the national championship and set records. We had a lot of awards and did it with our team. I feel like it was the best way to go.”
They thanked their fans, coaches, teammates, trainers and families. All four had been expected to declare for the draft, giving up their remaining eligibility in college football.
The talent drain was expected as Coach Orgeron said after the game that he knew when recruiting talented players that many of them would be three years and out.
Delpit, the 6'3", 200 pound safety from New Orleans, who relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina, was a force in the Tigers' backfield during his time at LSU.
As a sophomore, he led the Southeastern Conference in interceptions (5), was second in passes defended (15) and led the team in sacks on the season (5).
This season, Delpit's defensive performance helped lead LSU to its first National Championship victory since 2007. He was named a consensus first team All-American and was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back in college football.
He was a member of the First-Team All-SEC in both 2018 and 2019.
Queen, the 230 pound, 6'1" powerhouse out of Ventress, La., started for LSU's defense as a sophomore in place of a suspended Devin White. This season, he racked up nine tackles against Ole Miss and had a key interception in the Alabama game.
He had a massive performance in LSU's 42-25 win against Clemson in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to claim the national title, putting up eight tackles and a half sack.
Cushenberry, a massive lineman who opened holes for the runners and protected record-setting quarterback Joe Burrow, announced with a stylish Twitter post.
"I've decided to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. It's been a dream of mine since I was 8 years old to play in the National Football League. Now it's time to turn my dream into reality. Let's go to work."
Read Delpit's full farewell statement below:
"We are champs. We hoisted the trophy for you and LSU fans everywhere. I've decided to move on to the NFL. I will carry the joy and excitement of this season with me forever.
Thank you Tiger Nation. You are the best fans in the world. Thanks to the coaches, especially Coach O, Coach Raymond and Coach Busch. Thanks to the LSU trainers and staff who helped our team turn our championship mentality into reality.
Thank you to my brothers who pushed me to be great everday, and for memories that will last a lifetime.
Finally, thank you to my family and supporters, my main goal is to make you proud. I look forward to the next chapter. God bless!"