Whitworth says he staying

Andrew Whitworth, a First Team All-Southeastern Conference offensive tackle for LSU in 2004, will return for his senior season, he announced on Wednesday.

Whitworth, a 6-foot-7, 325 junior from West Monroe, La., has started 38 straight games on the offensive line over the past three years for the Tigers. As a junior in 2004, Whitworth played a team-high 793 snaps from scrimmage, allowing only one sack and being called for just five penalties.

"I definitely have to thank everyone that has helped me with this decision and helped me throughout the process," Whitworth said on Wednesday. "I watched many guys all year around talking about what they are going to do. I have had a lot of family help and a lot of support from this school and from people around here who just care about me. It is something that is a big decision for me to do the right thing.

"You can look at it two ways. One way, I have a chance to go after a dream of mine and play NFL football. Or on the other hand, I can stay here, be a senior leader and be a captain on this football team and be an example for these guys.

"To see Coach (Les) Miles come in and do what he has done so far and just talking with him, seeing what his goals are, what the goals of this school are, and the things that we have on our agenda, and the dedication of the seniors that I am going to be here with, my decision has been to stay here at LSU for another year."

In three years with the Tigers, Whitworth has started every game in which he has played and he has a chance to become the first player in school history to start 50 games in a career. Whitworth was named to Sporting News' First-Team Freshman All-America squad in 2002 before earning all-conference honors from both the SEC coaches and the Associated Press in 2004.

"Anytime a young man postpones wealth to extend his college career tells you that he is enjoying LSU and he is enjoying this team," LSU coach Les Miles said. "When you postpone wealth for what is the common good of a team, to extend college for another year and be a kid again and not worry about being a paycheck guy, it takes real value and understanding of perspective and intangibles."

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