LSU Football: Tigers Confirm 4 Players Have Left the Program

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

LSU safety Jerqwinick Sandolph (39) celebrates after recovering a fumbled punt with safety Ronald Martin (26) during the first half of their NCAA college football game against Alabama in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Bill Haber/Associated Press

According to Ross Dellenger of Baton Rouge's The Advocate, a LSU spokesperson confirmed that four players—offensive lineman Derek Edinburgh Jr., linebacker Lorenzo Phillips and defensive backs Jerqwinick Sandolph and Derrick Raymond—have decided to leave the Tigers football program for unrelated reasons.

All four were members of the Class of 2012, but none had made a major impact by their second season with the program. Phillips and Sandolph both played minor reserve roles in 2013, while Edinburgh and Raymond never saw the field.

All but Sandolph were 4-star recruits coming out of high school, with Phillips leading the way as the No. 22 outside linebacker in the country and No. 5 player in Louisiana, per the 247Sports composite. According to Dellenger, Phillips left for academic reasons and has enrolled in East Mississippi Community College, where he plans to get his grades up and rejoin the team.

Said high school coach Tommy Minton: "If [Phillips] can get his stuff straight, he wants to come back."

Sandolph is the only other member of the quartet to declare his intentions. A spokesperson confirmed that he has joined the football team at FCS Southeastern Louisiana, where he, along with fellow LSU expat Micah Eugene, will be eligible to play next season.

Edinburgh and Raymond have yet to reveal their plans.

Combined with quarterback Jeremy Liggins and linebacker Trey Granier, who both left the program almost immediately, LSU has now lost six of its 25 players from the Class of 2012, which ranked No. 14 in the 247Sports team rankings

This is an imperfect assessment, since it doesn't account for players lost from other teams, but according to the 247Sports class calculator, the loss of those six players would have dropped LSU's 2012 score from 247.70 to 230.15.

That would have dropped it out of the national top 20.

Since none of these four players were major contributors, their combined loss, at first glance, doesn't seem overly important. But given the record pace at which LSU has lost players to the NFL these past two seasons, every capable body on the roster becomes proportionately more significant. 

Phillips was the only one listed on the final depth chart of the season, and he was set to battle Deion Jones for the right to replace Lamin Barrow on the weakside in 2014. Without him, incoming 5-star freshman Clifton Garrett has an even greater shot at playing early.

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