LSU S Eric Reid headed to NFL draft
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU safety Eric Reid, cornerback Tharold Simon, running back Spencer Ware and punter Brad Wing formally declared their intention on Friday to leave school early and enter the NFL draft.
Those decisions mean the Tigers will lose at least three defensive regulars, with linebacker Kevin Minter also having informed the school he'd be leaving this week.
Reid and Minter both were AP second-team All-America selections. Simon was a starter who had four interceptions this season.
Reid finished with 91 tackles, ranking third on the team. He also made a pair of interceptions, seven pass breakups, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
``It was always my dream to go to LSU and play football,'' said Reid, whose father was an LSU track star. ``This was a very difficult decision because I always wanted to be a Tiger and I love LSU. But, after careful consideration and talking with my family, I feel like this is the right time to make this decision.''
Minter led LSU with 130 tackles, including 15 tackles for losses, in his junior season. The Georgia native's highlights included a 20-tackle performance against Florida and he had 19 tackles in LSU's 25-24 loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Simon had 96 tackles, 22 pass breakups and seven interceptions during his career with the Tigers and said his decision to turn pro after his junior season came ``with mixed emotions and serious consideration with my family.''
Ware has been a productive running back for the Tigers for three seasons, rushing for 1,249 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also catching 39 passes for 404 yards and two scores. The former high school quarterback also passed for a score, hitting Rueben Randle for a 39-yard TD against Auburn in 2010.
``I feel confident that I'm ready to go to the NFL,'' Ware said. ``I want to thank Coach Miles and his staff for helping me develop on the field and mature as both a player and person.''
Wing, an Australian, has been among the top college punters the past two seasons. He averaged 44.6 yards per punt, the highest average in school history for a player with at least 100 punts, though his second season was not as good as his first.
``I want to thank the fans, my coaches and my teammates for three amazing years at LSU,'' said Wing, who took a redshirt as a freshman.
While Ware, Simon and Wing were exceptional players at LSU, they each missed playing time for running afoul of team policies. Ware and Simon were suspended one game during the middle of the 2011 season for failing drug tests. Wing was suspended for this season's Chick-fil-A bowl for an undisclosed violation of team rules.