Tre'Davious White, Kendell Beckwith staying at LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. -- All-SEC cornerback Tre'Davious White -- a likely early-round pick had he entered the NFL draft -- has decided to play his senior season at LSU.

The Tigers announced Monday, the final day for underclassmen to enter the NFL draft, that White and linebacker Kendell Beckwith have decided against turning pro.

"After careful consideration and gathering as much information as possible about the draft process, I feel that it's in my best interest to return to LSU for my senior season," White said in a release. "... Decisions like this are never easy to make. Getting a college degree and becoming the first member of my family to graduate from a school like LSU has always been important to me."

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranked White as the No. 20 overall prospect on his most recent Big Board. However, White was not among the four cornerbacks Kiper projected as first-round picks in his initial mock draft last week.

One of the SEC's top cover cornerbacks, White was a second-team all-conference pick and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2015 after totaling 44 tackles and leading the Tigers with seven pass breakups. He has started 35 of LSU's 38 games since he joined the program in 2013.

Beckwith was second on the team with 84 tackles in 2015 to go with 10 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.

"I feel as if I have a lot of unfinished business here at LSU," Beckwith said.

With White and Beckwith returning for their senior seasons, LSU will take its smallest draft hit in six years. Among LSU's draft-eligible underclassmen, only fourth-year junior left tackle Jerald Hawkins declared for the draft.

When Kiper compiled his top 10 draft prospects by position last month, three of the five LSU players he listed were draft-eligible underclassmen: White was the No. 4 cornerback, Ethan Pocic the No. 5 center and Beckwith the No. 8 inside linebacker. All three underclassmen decided to remain at LSU for 2016.

LSU has lost at least one underclassman to the draft in nine of Les Miles' 11 seasons, with a record 11 players departing for the 2013 draft. The Tigers had lost at least three underclassmen to the NFL in each of the previous four years.

"This is a windfall for us," Miles said. "For the first time, we return a big senior class. Anytime that you have a senior-dominated team, you recognize that you are going to play with leaders, and guys always play their best year of football when they are most mature.

"This is a great decision for all of these guys. They are going to get their college degree, and they will all improve their draft position. This is a great day for LSU and our program."