LSU's Ja'Marr Chase, Derek Stingley Jr. Earn More 2020 Preseason Accolades
It's a foregone conclusion that junior receiver Ja'Marr Chase and sophomore cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. will not only be two of the best players in the SEC next season but the entire country. The pair have shown up on many preseason All-American teams and are just a few of the top non-quarterbacks at an outside shot for the Heisman trophy.
This week, AL.com polled all 14 sports information directors in the conference and asked them to vote on the top two candidates for various SEC superlatives.
Chase and Stingley made multiple appearances in the poll, most notably in the "Most Valuable Player" and "Top Heisman Trophy Candidates" categories.
Chase was voted as the presumptive "Most Valuable Player" in the SEC for 2020 with his teammate Stingley ranked as the runner-up by the SID's. For the Heisman Trophy category, Chase was ranked as the runner-up to Alabama running back Najee Harris.
Of course, both were voted as the top returning players at their respective positions but what has made them better is the competition in practice against one another. That has been the talk around the program since Stingley arrived as early enrollee freshman at the end of the 2018-19 season.
While making an appearance on ESPN radio show "Off the Bench" on Wednesday, receivers coach Mickey Joseph talked about those early battles between Chase and Stingley.
"Stingley graduated early and started practicing with us and I said "Ok let's rough the freshman up a little bit,'" Joseph said. "So you know Joe [Burrow] going to go at it and so we start throwing to Ja'Marr. About three throws in I thought 'maybe we need to leave this kid [Stingley] alone.' The thing that impressed me about Stingley is that he stuck his nose in and he and Ja'Marr got in a little scuffle and it was so funny because both dads were standing in the endzone.
"It's a battle they have in practice and is so professional and they talk to each other about what they're seeing. They're good, smart football players and really good competitors. If Ja'Marr is not the best player in the country then Stingley is, if Stingley isn't the best player in the country then Ja'Marr is."
Those battles will surely continue in 2020 as they helped Chase and Stingley become the best at what they do in 2019, ending with first-team All-American selections for both players and Chase winning the Biletnikoff.
In addition to Stingley and Chase's recognition's by the conference SID's, senior JaCoby Stevens was voted as one of the two best projected safeties, Tyler Shelvin was voted as the runner-up defensive lineman and Cade York was voted as the runner-up kicker in the conference.