BATON ROUGE, La. -- Roundly regarded as one of the nation's top safety prospects, All-American Jamal Adams announced at a Friday news conference that he will become the third LSU underclassman to skip his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL draft.
Adams said he made a final decision after the Tigers' victory in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl over Louisville.
"I kind of made the decision before the Louisville game, but at the same time I was kind of iffy. I sat down after the Louisville game with my parents and family," Adams said. "But I definitely told the team, I told most of the guys that I loved them and that I was moving on. But a lot of them joked with me and said, 'One more year,' but I made a decision and I'm moving on."
ESPN draft analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. both rank Adams in their top six among draft-eligible prospects, and some scouts who offered feedback to LSU late this season said they like the versatile safety even more than Fournette.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Adams could be a star at the pro level.
"We all feel that Jamal will not only be an excellent NFL player, but feel that he has All-Pro capabilities and perhaps a Hall of Famer one day," Orgeron said.
Former LSU coach Les Miles also attended the news conference and said Adams brought energy to the Tigers defense.
"He was a guy that played a position that you must communicate, and he did a great job," Miles said. "He was constantly chattering in the backfield there, and it made a difference to our secondary. When he was in the game, there were less busts because his view of the secondary and his comments were just exactly right. And he had so much energy. He brought every practice up several notches."
The son of former Kentucky running back George Adams, who went 19th overall to the New York Giants in the 1985 draft, Jamal Adams has been one of LSU's top defensive playmakers since arriving on campus.
He earned freshman All-America honors in 2014 and was a second-team All-SEC honoree as a sophomore after notching 67 tackles, four interceptions, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. This season, Adams made multiple All-America lists after ranking third on the team with 76 tackles, plus 7.5 TFLs, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
It's that ability to do a bit of everything from the safety position that has pro scouts drooling.
Fournette and Adams both look like surefire candidates to become first-round draft picks. While McShay and Kiper rank Adams as a top-10 prospect, they have Fournette even higher on their lists. McShay sees Fournette as the No. 1 overall prospect and Kiper has the junior running back No. 4 on his "Big Board."
If they do go in the first round, Fournette and Adams could end a mini-drought for an LSU program that had more alumni on NFL rosters (42) in Week 1 than any other college program.
LSU has not had a first-round draft pick since wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. went 12th overall to the New York Giants in the 2014 draft, and the Tigers have not had two first-rounders in the same draft since Barkevious Mingo (sixth to Cleveland) and Eric Reid (18th to San Francisco) in 2013.