While all who have worn the No. 7 jersey have been deserving for the most part, it carries extra weight when a local prospect is able to make it a memorable season. It all started with Patrick Peterson but local prospects Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette and DJ Chark have had some of the best seasons in program history while sporting the number.
Even Grant Delpit, who grew up in Louisiana but moved to Texas after Hurricane Katrina, sported No. 7 and won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2019. The legacies left behind by Mathieu, Fournette and Chark were lasting and Stingley has a prime opportunity to leave behind a similar impact on the program.
Mathieu, a New Orleans native, was a Thorpe Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist after a 76 tackle season that included six forced fumbles, two interceptions, two touchdowns, nine passes defended and 7.5 tackles for a loss. He also returned two punts that season and was simply the most electric defensive player that season.
In what was still a run heavy offense with plenty of tricks and turns under Matt Canada in 2017, DJ Chark out of Alexandria, was able to rack up 974 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in his final season at LSU while sporting the No. 7.
Then of course there was Fournette, who wore the jersey for all three seasons in Baton Rouge and has always equated the number to his hometown and state. Now that the NFL has loosened its restrictions on jersey numbers, he'll be sporting No. 7 once again in the NFL.
"That's where I'm born and raised," Fournette said in an announcement. "That's just me. That's what I represent. I'm so big on giving back to where I'm from and it really represents how special that place is to me. I'm just grateful. It was a special number to me in college, so I'm like why not wear it again?"
Now it's Stingley's turn a in two seasons with the Tigers he's recorded 65 tackles, 20 passes defended and six interceptions with the program. This is his turn to make a case for the Jim Thorpe Award and cement his legacy as one of the best cornerbacks to ever come through the program.
"Derek is very deserving of following in the footsteps of some of the great players in LSU history in wearing the No. 7 jersey," coach Ed Orgeron said in a press release. "Derek is an outstanding young man from right here in Baton Rouge who represents our program with tremendous character and a desire to make all of those around him better.
"It's an honor to be part of the legacy of players that have worn the number 7 jersey," Stingley said. "I'm looking forward to upholding the tradition and the standard of play that has been set by the group that has come before me."