LSU’s 2010 squad received some good news on Friday when junior linebacker Kelvin Sheppard announced that he would return for his senior season.
Sheppard, a native of Stone Mountain, Ga., led the Tigers and ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference with 110 total tackles as a junior in 2009. Sheppard played a key role at middle linebacker for an LSU unit that ranked No. 11 in the nation in scoring defense in 2009.
“I felt like coming back to LSU for my senior season was the best decision for me, my family and the team,” Sheppard said. “This decision allows me the opportunity to get my degree and try to help the team win another SEC title and a national title.”
Sheppard goes into the spring semester just 15 hours shy of graduating with a degree in general studies.
“Getting my degree is very important to me,” Sheppard said. “I came to LSU with a list of things that I wanted to accomplish as a student-athlete and getting a degree was one of them. I’m excited about getting back on campus and going to work for next year.”
In three years with the Tigers, Sheppard has played in 40 games, starting 17 times. He’s registered 195 tackles, 8.5 tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks. He also has forced four fumbles and intercepted a pass.
“We are thrilled that Kelvin is coming back for his senior season,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “This was obviously a very personal decision for Kelvin and his family and we were going to support him no matter what decision he made.
“Kelvin is a team leader and a player that many of our young guys look up to. This decision will allow him the chance to play for another championship, get his degree and continue to grow and develop both on and off the field.”
Miles also said that junior offensive tackle Joe Barksdale and junior wide receiver Terrence Toliver will both be back with the Tigers in 2010. Barksdale has started 26 straight games on the offensive line for the Tigers, while Toliver is coming off his best year at LSU with 53 receptions for 735 yards and three touchdowns.
“We are excited that all three of these guys have decided to return to LSU for their senior seasons,” Miles said.
Junior safety Chad Jones is the only LSU player from the 2009 squad who has opted to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.