LSU's mega-talented defensive end will forego his final year of eligibility and head to the NFL per Ross Dellenger at the Advocate.
Source on #LSU team confirms that DE Danielle Hunter will bypass his senior year and enter the NFL draft. Tigers have lost 3 underclassmen.— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) January 5, 2015
However, Lamar Louis tweeted this wasn't true:
However, enough media outlets are running with the story that it seems we can believe it's the truth.
Well, so much for the hope that Collins' decision to return for his senior season would influence others to follow suit. Hunter is a tremendous loss for a defense that will already be looking to replace one defensive end, its best line backer, and three regular members of the secondary. The defense loses four of its top five tacklers from 2014, as well as the team leaders in sacks, passes defended, and tackles for loss. Not to mention the coordinator.
There's not much established depth behind Hunter at the DE spot. Tashawn Bower played some quality snaps, particularly against Texas A&M. Deondre Clark and Sione Teuhema both saw time, but typically only in certain sets or mop up duty. Beyond that, there's not much.
Don't expect much immediate help from this recruiting class either, as Isaiah Washington is the lone commitment on the defensive line and the remaining targets seem long shots.
For Hunter, the decision is his and his alone. My opinion is that he could have been served by having another year or refining his pass rush skill set, to become a more complete all-around player. The lack of pass-rush skills will likely keep him down into the 2nd or 3rd round. It's similar to La'El Collins last season, in that a strong showing his senior year could propel him to being a top 10 pick.
There's a tough road ahead here. So long as LSU continues to lose underclassmen to the draft in droves each season, they likely won't be a factor in the national championship picture.
Just spoke to #LSU Danielle Hunter. He told me he hasn't talked to anyone in media about his decision to either return to LSU or go pro.— Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette) January 5, 2015
Update 1.9.15: Hunter makes it official: