Trio of LSU Tigers make list for top 50 players in college football

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Going into the 2021 college football season, head coach Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers are looking to get the sour taste of 2020 out of their mouths.

The team from Death Valley kicked off last season on a bad note after Mike Leach was able to throw all over the defense led by Bo Pelini, but he has since been ousted. Daronte Jones is looking to fix what ails the defense and help return one of college football’s premier defenders to his 2019 form. Last season was anything but what some expected from sophomore cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. We will have more on him in just a bit.

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The offense should be a lot better in 2021 with Jake Peetz coming over from the Carolina Panthers to run the Joe Brady offense. Peetz spent the past year on the staff under the former Tigers passing game coordinator. The question being which quarterback will emerge as the starter in the offense. The running game also needs to improve with Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery Jr.

Recently 247Sports’ Chris Hummer broke down the top 50 players in all of college football. Three LSU Tigers made the list with two defenders in the top 20.

Starting at the bottom we have a breakout candidate at wide receiver

No. 50: Kayshon Boutte, Wide Reciever

(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

What 247Sports Says…

Boutte finished with 100-plus yards in back-to-back December games against Alabama and Florida and then capped off his true freshman campaign with a record-setting 14-catch, 308-yard, three-touchdown performance against Ole Miss. Those 308 yards are a single-game SEC record. Boutte ended the year with 45 catches for 735 yards and five touchdowns. There are other receivers in college football who’ve had more production than Boutte to this point. But Boutte is on this list because he’s one of the game’s next superstars.

What We Say…

Boutte is already garnering a lot of recognition for his performance over the final three games of the 2020 campaign. He was named to both the Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Award watch lists. With no help from Arik Gilbert, who transferred to Georgia, the sophomore wide receiver will be expected to carry the load in the passing game. Provided they get him the ball, Boutte could be in for a monster second season. Prior to Ja’Marr Chase’s 2019 explosion, he recorded just 313 yards receiving. Justin Jefferson recorded 875 yards receiving before he exploded in 2019 in the Joe Brady offense. Peetz could do the same for Boutte.

Next, the first defender we highlight

No. 20: Eli Ricks, Cornerback

Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK

What 247Sports Says…

LSU’s defense finished dead last in passing yards allowed per game last season. Yet little of that fault can be placed on Ricks. The five-star true freshman excelled, totaling 20 tackles and four interceptions, including a pair of pick-sixes. Ricks finished the year with PFF College’s sixth-highest coverage grade among FBS players. He and Stingley should form the nation’s best 1-2 cornerback duo.

What We Say…

Ricks stood tall in his freshman season as he led the Tigers’ defense in interceptions and pick-sixes. Going into year two, even more growth is expected for the former five-star recruit. With a few new young quarterbacks in the mix across the conference, Ricks could look to take advantage and have a bigger impact on the 2021 season. LSU needs to return to playing much better defense to make a run at the SEC West.

Finally, the top player on the LSU roster

No. 2: Derek Stingley Jr, Cornerback

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

What 247Sports Says…

LSU’s pass defense may have finished last nationally in passing yards allowed per game last year, but Stingley remained among the top cover corners in the SEC. And don’t forget how historic Stingley was as a true freshman. He finished the 2019 campaign as a unanimous All-American, PFF’s top-graded cornerback and led the SEC with six interceptions. Stingley, the highest-rated cornerback prospect in Top247 history, should be the preseason favorite for the Thorpe Award in a loaded year for defensive backs.

What We Say…

Before Eli Ricks led the team with interceptions as a freshman, Derek Stingley Jr pulled off that feat in 2019. He was one of the top catalysts on that defense that won the 2019 College Football Playoffs national championship. Going into year three, Stingley is looking to return to his old form. While he didn’t record a single interception, he was third on the team in passes defended and forced one fumble. He did deal with some injury issues last season, Stingley looks to rebound and prove that LSU has the best two cornerbacks in college football.

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