The LSU Tigers defense took a hit on Monday after it was reported that defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr would opt out of the bowl game. Fox Sports analyst and college football insider for The Athletic reported the news on Monday afternoon.
Farrell was a key part of the interior defensive line that showed vast improvement throughout the season despite losing key contributors down the stretch. He appeared in all 12 games for the Tigers with 45 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, two sacks, and two passes defended.
Farrell appeared in a total of 48 games in his five seasons with the Bayou Bengals. That included playing in all 15 games during the 2019 National Championship season under the guidance of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
He leaves the team with 143 total tackles, 22 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, four passes defended, and one forced fumble.
DT Neil Farrell who has been a leader for LSU on a defense that has been sorely depleted by injuries, announces he will not be playing in the bowl game against K-State, and is starting his preparations for the pre-draft process.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 20, 2021
This will likely mean that Jaquelin Roy, a sophomore will be tasked with stepping into his spot on the starting rotation. Farrell was the highest-graded defender this season according to Pro Football Focus. If healthy enough to play in the bowl game, freshman Maason Smith could slide inside as well.
The LSU Tigers will play the Kansas State Wildcats in Houston on Jan. 4, as they represent the SEC in the Texas Bowl.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatrickConnCFB