LSU football: 3 biggest offseason questions facing Ed Orgeron’s Tigers in 2021

Ed Orgeron LSU Tigers. (Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)
Ed Orgeron LSU Tigers. (Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Derek Stingley Jr., LSU Tigers
Derek Stingley Jr., LSU Tigers. (Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports) /

2. Will Derek Stingley Jr. emerge as the best defensive player in the SEC?

Maybe we set the bar too high for Derek Stingley Jr. entering his true sophomore season at LSU? He did lose a former Jim Thorpe Award winner to the NFL in safety Grant Delpit off that fantastic 2019 roster. Then again, Stingley was widely seen as the best defensive back talent to grace the Baton Rouge campus since arguably Patrick Peterson. Stingley is DBU’s new crown jewel.

As a true freshman, Stingley was a consensus First-Team All-American, First-Team All-SEC and won a national championship. While he was still first-team all-conference last year, it was a down year for him and the LSU team in general. Stingley did not intercept a single pass in seven games for the 2020 Tigers. Does he have what it takes to be the 2021 SEC Defensive Player of the Year?

Assuming this offseason is significantly less chaotic, Stingley has to be at the front of the list for that honor, as well as the favorite to take home the Jim Thorpe. What is important is for him to take the lessons learned from last year and apply them to what will almost certainly be his last season in college. If everything goes according to plan, he will be a top-10 pick in the 2022 draft.

While the LSU offense readjusts under its new offensive coordinator in Jake Peetz, the Tigers need to flourish right away under new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones. Stingley starred as a true freshman in Dave Aranda’s defensive scheme. Fortunately for him, Jones is a disciple of Stingley’s former defensive coordinator. If he puts in the work, there is no telling how good Stingley can be.