Is there anyone else of consequence left for LSU to lose? It sure doesn’t seem that way after star wide receiver and 2019 Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase opted out of the season this week. That technically will make him the 15th player from last year’s record-setting offense – maybe the best the college game has ever seen – lost to the NFL Draft.
So how do you replace a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, the best receiver in the country, an acclaimed offensive coordinator and overall 14 players to the 2020 NFL Draft and remain competitive in the SEC?
Head coach Ed Orgeron has recruited well, but no one in the country can recruit well enough to replace this much talent without a drop-off. Chase’s departure could make it a full-fledged crash.
Fortunately for the Tigers this is not a typical year, so their fall will be cushioned. A scheduled game with Texas was dropped, leaving an all-SEC schedule that presents three major challenges: at Florida, at Auburn and home to Alabama.
Fourth-year junior Myles Brennan will likely step in for the record-setting Joe Burrow at quarterback, and you can see plenty of young, promising talent throughout the roster. The Tigers have a TE candidate in Arik Gilbert who was the Gatorade National Player of the Year. They also have one of the best DBs in the county in Derek Stingley, Jr.
There will also be a new-look on defense, with new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, in his second go-around in the job, switching to a 4-3.
What does it all mean? Maybe a 7-3 or 6-4 season but considering the rebuilding that needs to take place that’s not too bad at all. And by springing an upset or two in a year without any Big 10 or Pac-12 teams that could mean the lower reaches of the top 10. This year is the cost of business for the memorable 15-0 campaign of a year ago.