The recent history of receivers at LSU has been a star studded one, whether you take it back to Devery Henderson in the early 2000’s, or Brandon LaFell, Early Doucet, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry — or even more recently with DJ Chark.
Each year it seems the question isn’t about the Tiger receivers, but the one throwing to them.
LSU enters the 2018 season stacked at receiver, with a nice blend of incoming players mixed with experienced returners.
Perhaps the most intriguing name is the newest player to wear number seven, Jonathan Giles.
Giles was known as one of the top receivers in the country two years ago while he was at Texas Tech, racking up 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore.
Giles felt he and Texas Tech weren’t on the same page and announced he was transferring from the school in the spring of 2017.
The now-junior receiver has two years of eligibility left at LSU. After spending a year competing against Donte Jackson and Greedy Williams in practice, Giles seems poised for a standout year with the Tigers.
Also new to the squad are freshmen Terrace Marshall Jr. out of Parkway High School and Ja’Marr Chase, the four star prospect from Archbishop Rummel High School.
Chase comes into the season with some question marks regarding his health. During Chase’s senior year, he partially tore his PCL causing him to rest for three months without any physical activity. He was well enough to compete in track and field, and arrived on campus in June, but will challenge for a starting slot come fall.
Marshall got a head start at LSU, arriving in the spring. Marshall was the No. 2 overall receiver in the country by Scout.com and was showing promise before a shoulder injury, from which he’s still recovering, cut his Spring game short.
Orgeron said, as of June 29, Marshall is at 85 percent strength but should be ready for camp in August. The 6’3” receiver has big play ability, with his only catch going for 21 yards in the spring game.
Returning to the group are some explosive, experienced talents in juniors Derrick Dillon, Drake Davis and Stephen Sullivan. Dillon saw meaningful action last season as a receiver, but was also given opportunity in the run game.
Dillon caught 14 passes for 125 yards on the season and ran for an additional 86 on 15 carries. Dillon should push for a starting job this season.
Davis came into the 2017-18 season with a lot of hype surrounding him as a four star prospect who, in high school, was an elite soccer player. After appearing in six games as a freshman, Davis didn’t see consistent time as a sophomore, catching three passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis does have the athleticism to be an elite talent and the two touchdowns on three total catches proves he has big play ability, but should fill more of a deep threat role if he continues to fine-tune his game.
Sullivan also saw significant action a season ago for LSU, catching one touchdown and 11 passes for 219 yards while adding a rushing touchdown. With a 6’6” frame and 235 pound body, the size is there for Sullivan to have an impact year for the Tigers and after starting eight games last season, the experience should only benefit Sullivan.
Other names to watch who will push for playing time are sophomore Justin Jefferson, the younger brother of former Tigers Jordan and Rickey Jefferson, junior Dee Anderson as well as sophomore Racey McMath.
Anderson played in 11 games as a freshman with two starts, catching four balls for 73 yards, but saw his playing time diminish to just eight appearances, catching three passes for 45 yards. The junior should push for a starting role this fall.
McMath has impressed coaches with his physical style of play and after only playing two games last season, is poised for a bigger role. Jefferson has jumped up the receiver chart with an impressive spring including high praise from Giles.
“He’s a playmaker, doing everything he’s supposed to do as a receiver,” Giles said in April. “He’s blocking, running good routes. That’s my son. I call him my little son.”
The returning players will be key not only because of the experience they have in the Southeastern Conference, but because they can be a helpful resource to the new players as well.
Once again LSU seems to not lack in talent at the receiver position in 2018, but it will be on the group as a whole to write its own legacy in the Tiger history books.