As one of the NFL’s biggest producers of talent, the LSU Football program is no stranger to superstars. The Tigers have seen some of the most mesmerizing college players in the country roam their facility’s halls over the last decade, individuals like Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Leonard Fournette and Tyrann Mathieu. These all-time greats were amongst the best NCAA football players in the nation during their respective times in Baton Rouge.
Regardless of how many stars LSU loses to each graduating cycle or NFL Draft, the Tigers always seem to know how to replace these special players with the next generational talents. LSU has experienced back-to-back disappointing seasons now—easily the program’s worst since the late 1990s—yet, there is no shortage of star-power on Brian Kelly’s depth chart. Still, the Tigers remain scarcely underrepresented on many preseason watchlists and projections.
LSU Football is scarcely underrepresented in many All-American projections
LSU is unranked in the preseason polls for the first time since 2000 after finishing under .500 last season. Even though Kelly has been identified as one of the best coaches in all of college football, the sport’s pundits don’t seem to rate the Tigers’ players very highly. CBS Sports released its annual preseason All-American team projections on Wednesday morning, and to the slight surprise of many SEC fans, only one LSU player was mentioned.
As many can probably guess, the lone individual is star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. Boutte has already been named among the favorites on the Biletnikoff Award watchlist after returning this season from a season-ending injury last year. The Tigers’ No. 7 has been touted as one of the best receivers in the country by his head coach. Boutte’s inclusion on CBS Sports’ list only further validates these claims.
Boutte appears on the list as a second team All-American. He is the first name of two receivers on on the second team—the other being North Carolina’s Josh Downs—which indicates he was on the cusp of a first team selection. Those honors were instead given to Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as well as USC receiver and reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison.
After the seasons LSU has had over the last two years, it can be thankful that one of its players has made any preseason watchlist. The Tigers’ program has seen tremendous overhaul—for better or for worse—after a disappointing title defense in 2020 and a down year that featured a coaching change in 2021. Despite all of this, it’s hard not to feel that LSU was hard done by with only one preseason All-American selection.
Boutte is undoubtedly the headline-grabbing talent on the Tigers’ roster, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other superstars in the making. Individuals such as BJ Ojulari and Maason Smith should be household names in the game by now. If they aren’t, it’s safe to assume they will be by the time the season is over. Furthermore, Jack Bech, Malik Nabers and Jaquelin Roy will likely all enjoy breakout campaigns over the next few months.
All of this isn’t to say that the six aforementioned talents necessarily deserve a spot on the All-American list. Rather, it’s meant to put the rest of the country on high alert as these LSU stars are ready to make a name for themselves under the new coaching staff in Baton Rouge.