Update: LSU’s Claiborne, Brockers leaving early for the NFL

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UPDATED 4:16 p.m. ET: As reported below, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne announced at a press conference that he is leaving the Tigers early for the NFL.  During the same press conference, teammate and defensive tackle Michael Brockers confirmed that he will be doing the same.

“I can’t thank Coach [Les] Miles enough. This program has done so much for me, and I am very thankful,” Claiborne said.

“I just want to thank everyone at LSU who has helped me throughout my career,” Brockers stated. “It has been an amazing season.”

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In a press release Friday morning, LSU announced a 4 p.m. ET press conference today to discuss the future of two football players – cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

As expected, the immediate future for the former player will include the NFL.

The Associated Press, citing two people familiar with the decision, is reporting that Claiborne will announce this afternoon that he is leaving LSU early for the NFL draft.  The move would come as no surprise whatsoever; Claiborne is widely projected to be a top-five selection in the upcoming draft.

While Tyrann Mathieu‘s and his Honey Badger moniker grabbed the majority of headlines in 2011, Claiborne was hands-down the Tigers’ top cover corner and arguably the best player at his position in the country.  Claiborne came to the Tigers in 2009 as an unheralded three-star recruit, rated as the No. 58 “athlete” in the country according to Rivals.com and “just” the No. 21 player at any position in the state of Louisiana.

Claiborne led the Tigers with six interceptions in 2011, and was a consensus All-American selection.