We all know how monumental of a season it was for Joe Burrow at LSU, but let’s not overlook how impressive Ja’Marr Chase was at wide receiver this year.
2019 was the Year of the Tiger in college football. The LSU Tigers became the second team in the modern era to go 15-0 en route to a national championship. It was the school’s first since 2007 and the fourth in program history. Though quarterback Joe Burrow and head coach Ed Orgeron get a ton of credit, and rightfully so, we need to respect the year wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had, too.
Chase coming into his sophomore year at LSU, fresh off a solid freshman campaign where he had 23 catches for 313 yards and three touchdown receptions in 10 games. He clearly showed promise last year, but he must have put in so much work with Burrow in the offseason. That’s because he became Burrow’s unquestioned No. 1 target as a true sophomore in 2019.
Chase won the 2019 Fred Biletnikoff Award for the best receiver in college football. He had 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the NCAA in receiving yardage, touchdowns and yards per catch at 21.2. Chase finished second in the SEC with his 84 receptions.
Chase had nine games of over 100 receiving yards, as well as three over 200 yards, including his nine catches for 221 yards and two trips to pay dirt in the 2019 National Championship. He scored at least one touchdown in 11 games this season and had at least two touchdown grabs in six games this year. And did we mention he was only a sophomore!
Even though Chase was part of a deep receiving corps that featured Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall Jr., there was no skill position player more magnificent in the national title bout than Chase. He was an elite downfield threat, as well as a physical possession receiver when Burrow needed to make a play to move the sticks. Chase has top-10 NFL Draft pick written all over him.
Of course, it will be very interesting to see how he adapts to life without Burrow in Baton Rouge. Chase can’t enter the NFL Draft until 2021 and will now be catching footballs from presumably Burrow’s heir apparent to the LSU quarterbacking throne in Myles Brennan. Filling Burrow’s massive shoes is an impossible task for Brennan, but having a receiver like Chase will help him.
Watching Chase thrive in this LSU offense has to give you hope that he’ll be a star in the NFL for Sundays to come. He has the playmaking ability of former Bayou Bengals at wide receiver, such as Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. It’s a shame that Landry and Beckham didn’t have this type of offense to play in, but they have to be proud of the legacy Chase is putting together at LSU.
Ultimately, Chase has all the talent in the world for him to leave his mark on the NFL in a few years’ time. However, his greatest strength is having one more year to get better playing wide receiver at LSU. His play will be key in helping LSU transition from Burrow to Brennan as the star signal-caller of the offense. We need to appreciate all that Chase did for LSU as a sophomore.