The expectations being placed on LSU Football this season aren’t exactly ones that the team is used to in years past. The Tigers are coming off their two worst seasons this century, and there is a completely new coaching staff set to make its debut in purple and gold on September 4. The Bayou Bengals have also fallen out of the preseason polls for the first time in two decades, so fans aren’t exactly sure what to expect ahead of the season opener against Florida State.
Many bookies have LSU finishing around the 6-6 mark for a third year running, although it wouldn’t shock anyone to see Brian Kelly’s team end the year with seven or eight wins. Regardless of the expectations being put on the squad as a whole, there are a handful of Tigers that are expected to compete for some of the nation’s top individual honors. LSU fans need to keep an eye on a returning receiver who is poised to have a breakout season, even though he hasn’t generated much buzz so far this summer.
LSU Football will have a breakout star this season in WR Jack Bech
It goes without saying that opposing defensive backs will have their hands full with the Tigers’ superstar receiving core. Kayshon Boutte’s reputation speaks for itself. LSU’s new No. 7 has fully recovered from his season-ending injury, and he looks ready to terrorize SEC defenses. Alongside him is sophomore Malik Nabers and senior leader, Jaray Jenkins, both of whom made huge plays down the stretch for the Tigers last season. The explosive duo stepped up in a big way during Boutte’s absence.
The trio has demanded a lot of attention during the last few weeks of Fall Camp. Reporters cannot seem to run out of good things to say about the receiving core, neither can Kelly. However, one of LSU’s best offensive weapons is often being left out of the conversation: Jack Bech.
Bech came into the 2021/22 season as a true freshman, similar to Nabers. The two youngsters made names for themselves with their playmaking abilities, albeit in different spots. Bech is more of a tight end-receiver hybrid who is capable of lining up all over the field. He has since made the transition to receiver on a full-time basis. Given the explosiveness and elite separation abilities of Boutte and Nabers, it’s likely Bech lines up in the slot more often than not this year.
The Lafayette native is an elite route-runner, as evidenced by his team-high 43 receptions last season. Bech’s pass catching ability is up there with the best of them, as well. These two qualities make him one of the most lethal slot receivers in the country.
Bech’s stature (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) is close to that of now-Indianapolis Colts wideout Alec Pierce (6-foot-3, 211 pounds), which is music to offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock’s ears. Pierce broke out last season with Cincinnati under Denbrock, racking up 884 yards and eight touchdowns on a team-high 52 receptions. Bech—unlike Pierce—is a No. 3 receiving option though. The attention Boutte and Nabers will demand means Bech can potentially break out of his shell in a new system with a more talented quarterback.
If Bech manages to build upon the success he achieved in his freshman season, he has the potential to make LSU the most dangerous receiving core in all of college football.