LSU's O-line will return intact

Updated: April 6, 2005, 12:07 PM ET
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The NFL draft is April 23-24, but for Andrew Whitworth it'll be just another free weekend, the first after LSU spring practice ends.

After weighing his options most of last season, the LSU offensive lineman passed up this year's draft for a senior season with the Tigers.

He went through the process of applying to the NFL draft advisory board, and the answer that came back was predictable. Whitworth was projected as a second- or third-round pick, likely the third or fourth tackle taken, quite respectable territory for an offensive lineman.

"That was something people wanted me to look at," Whitworth said. "But I wanted to be back with these guys that I love and have been with so long. I didn't want a chance to waste that."

Whitworth's decision affords LSU a rare luxury: the entire offensive line that started the final four games last season after center Ben Wilkerson's knee injury returns intact.

Whitworth is at left tackle along side sophomore Will Arnold at left guard, senior Rudy Niswanger at center, senior Nate Livings at right guard and junior Brian Johnson at right tackle.

"Playing together is huge," Whitworth said. "When the offensive line is a unit, you can be successful. We know each other's problems, what each guy struggles with. You help each other on certain things and certain movements."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press