The two hot topics in LSU sports right now are a) the disaster of the basketball season, and b) the surprise interest that #1 national recruit Terelle Pryor is giving us. I will discuss neither of these today because (a) just annoys me and (b) isn't really ripe yet to discuss.
Instead, I'll discuss something I meant to discuss when I would have found out that one or more of our juniors had declared for the NFL Draft. The problem was that none of them ended up declaring.
A lot of people complain when a guy declares early. "We made a commitment to him for 4 years, etc. etc." There is no question that a surprise declaration for which a team is unprepared really screws up the preparation for the following season, but often that's a coach's fault for not recruiting quality depth at that position.
I don't really care about a guy's projected draft status. I don't have the opinion that many have of, "if he's a 1st round pick he should go." I go by the Two Year Rule. My opinion about guys declaring early is this: I cannot be upset about a guy leaving early for the NFL if he has given us two years of high level production. I don't mean a year of being great proceeded by two years of backing up the starters and covering punts. I mean two years of high level production.
Under this model, a player who was an understudy for a year and then took over as a starter and played well the following two years can go to the NFL with my blessing. A guy who putters around for a couple of years and then has an inconsistent 1st half of his 3rd year before blowing up in the 2nd half of his 3rd year cannot go pro without drawing my ire. I think that guy pretty much wasted our time and left us as soon as he was really useful.
Using the Two Year Rule, Darry Beckwith, Herman Johnson, Tyson Jackson, and even Ciron Black (who was eligible to turn pro) could have declared for the Draft with my blessing. Brandon Lafell could not have, because he has only given us one year of production at a high level. Of course, there was little if any public discussion of the possibility he would declare, but if he had, I would have been kind of upset.
As for next year, we'll face the same questions with Ciron Black (a redshirt junior and expected 3-year starter after next season), Brandon Lafell, Ricky Jean-Francois, and possibly others if certain players blow up next season (like Harry Coleman or Jai Eugene, for example). I think we need to anticipate that Black and Lafell will turn pro next year, even though they may not. Our coaches just need to be prepared and have a plan in place in case they do, especially for Black.