Derek Stingley Jr. had a phenomenal freshman season in 2019 at LSU. He became the first freshman to start on defense there in 34 years, and ended up earning a National Championship that year as well. Even though he missed three games to start the season due to the COVID-19 virus, his elite-level talent at the cornerback position followed into the 2020 season,. Between the two seasons, Stingley Jr. had 65 tackles, 20 passes defended, six interceptions, and in both years was named first-team All-SEC.
Stingley Jr. comes from an athletically talented background with his father, former Purdue cornerback Derek Stingley Sr. and his grandfather Darryl Stingley who played at wide receiver for the Patriots. While growing up instead of watching cartoons like his friends Stingley would instead be watching football film with his dad. His background and dedication to football are what have made Stingley the top-rated cornerback heading into the season, and his leadership has earned him the honor of being able to wear the legendary No. 7 jersey for his junior year.
For the 2021 season, Stingley has the chance to add to his already impressive resume. In an exclusive SportsTalk interview, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron discussed the option of having Stingley play some snaps on offense as a wide receiver.
LSU has had great depth at the receiver position with stars like Ja’marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry and that’s just to name a few. This season though, their depth has slimmed out as the only sure starter right now is Kayshon Boutte, who in his 2020 season set an SEC record of 14 catches for 308 yards in the game against Ole Miss. Following him are tons of youthful talent like Jaray Jenkins and Jontre Kirklin who could develop into stars, but for a season where LSU needs to rebound from their 2020 season, having Stingley Jr. as an offensive weapon would have a huge impact on the offenses’ presence.
Stingley Jr. has spent time going up against star wide receivers like CeeDee Lamb, Collin Johnson, Devonta Smith, and even in practices with his former teammate Ja’marr Chase. One of his strengths is being able to mirror these receivers in coverage and with his speed has been able to keep them from gaining any separation. Even though it’s on defense, Stingley Jr. would be able to translate these skills easily over onto the offense.
His size is also a contributing factor into this decision as he is 6’1” 195 pounds. His height is what has allowed Stingley Jr. to be able to thrive in contested situations and be able to make plays in 50/50 type of throws. His time spent as a kid analyzing football film has paid off as he exhibits a high IQ to understand different schemes and adjust in time. Stingley Jr. is quick, precise, and already understands the wide receiver position, and would know what to look for in opposing defenses to beat the coverage.
If Stingley Jr. can perform well at the receiver position while keeping up his production at cornerback his chances for winning the Heisman Trophy will skyrocket, and his draft stock that is already great will increase exponentially as well as he could have the potential to be the first overall draft pick. Talent like Stingley Jr. doesn’t come often so make sure to add him to your player watchlist this fall.
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