LSU will lose two key components to its tremendously talented 2011 defense in 2012.
Sources have told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune that All-America cornerback Morris Claiborne and third-year sophomore defensive tackle Michael Brockers will announce their intentions to enter this year's NFL draft at a news conference Thursday.
Claiborne's departure should come as no surprise. He won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, and was a complete cover corner, shutting down his side of the field in the passing game. He finished his junior season with six interceptions and defended 12 passes.
Claiborne is the third-rated player on Scouts Inc.'s draft board.
Brockers was a force in the middle of LSU's defensive line. He recorded 54 tackles, including 10 for loss, had an interception, defended three passes, and blocked a field goal in Monday's Allstate BCS National Championship Game.
A source told ESPN's Joe Schad that junior wide receiver Russell Shepard will also forgo his senior season and enter the draft.
On Wednesday, Shepard indicated through the Twitter account @LSUShep10 that he was leaving LSU.
"Thanks for your support Tiger Nation...but I have to do what's best for my family and myself...Geaux Tigers," Shepard said.
Shepard's departure would be a surprise, considering he has yet to really show his full potential at LSU. He arrived as a quarterback/wide receiver, but wasn't used in the offense as much as most expected. Following Monday's championship game, Shepard also tweeted his displeasure with only getting in for three plays against Alabama.
During his three seasons with the Tigers, Shepard has 52 catches for 478 yards and five scores, including two rushing touchdowns.
With the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft Sunday, there's still time for all three to change their minds. Shepard might want to seriously consider his decision before he makes anything official.