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How good can LSU wide receiver Kyren Lacy be in 2024?

LSU sent two more first-round wide receivers to the NFL this year with Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. going on day one. That’s always a good look for a program. Especially one like LSU that’s made a habit of creating star receivers.

But losing two players of that caliber at the same position in the same year is tough to replace. Nabers and Thomas combined for 2,746 yards in 2023. Together, they created 54 plays of 20+ yards or more and 31 touchdowns. The offense was automatic at times with these two on the field.

With an opportunity at wide receiver, the spring spotlight was on Kyren Lacy. The coaching staff was impressed. Not just with what he did in practice, but his maturity across the board.

“The level of consistency he’s shown from the bowl game, into how he’s attacked the weight room, to how he’s been a leader and holding other players accountable, teaching young players what we do and how we do things,” co-offensive coordinator Joe Sloan said. “That is process that shows up at practice and shows up on Saturday.”

Head coach Brian Kelly offered a similar sentiment, saying Lacy used to be distracted at times but found “the right zone” to be in when it comes to practice and preparation.

Lacy transferred to LSU in 2022 after beginning his career at Louisiana. In a run-heavy offense, Lacy racked up 674 yards and 10 touchdowns in Lafayette.

But Lacy’s ability was evident when you turned on the tape, making plays against Power Four-level teams like Texas.

The yards-after-catch ability put on display in the above clip came to life at LSU last year with Lacy averaging 7.1 yards after the catch. That ranked fourth in the SEC among receivers with 30+ catches.

What LSU needs is a receiver to create big plays close to the rate Nabers and Thomas did last year. There’s reason to believe Lacy can do that. His 18.6 yards per catch ranked third among qualified SEC receivers.

When Lacy first arrived at LSU, he wasn’t a complete player. The route tree was limited and there were drop issues. He made progress last year posting career bests in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

Lacy shined at spring practice and LSU’s expecting another jump. This room is his now with Nabers and Thomas gone.

He’s a fifth-year senior who’s worked with some of the best receiver minds in the country between his time playing for Billy Napier at Louisiana and his work with Cortez Hankton at LSU. All the tools are there for Lacy to be a 1,000-yard receiver and All-SEC caliber player.

“Kyren’s gonna make plays, but the maturity, the ability to use your emotion as your strength and the ability to be consistent day in and day out, that’s gonna carry over, and now we see his talent show up every single play,” Sloan said.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire