Updated: Mar 30
PETE OUR 100TH SUBSCRIBER!!!
WELCOME PETE!!! LET'S GEAUX BRO!!!
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
As Ja'Marr prepares to be drafted alongside 2019 National Champion Tiger teammates Terrace Marshall, Kary Vincent Jr, Tyler Shelvin and Tory Carter (as well as 2020 teammate Jabril Cox) we must take a moment to celebrate the otherworldly accomplishments of #1 / #7....this is a cat who became the first WR to score 20 TDs and haul in 20 yards per catch during a single season...and he accomplished these feats in the SEC during its toughest ever era, against elite competition...turning elite players into routine garbage (Trayvon Diggs, A.J Terrell etc), Ja'Marr appearing as if he were stealing pretzels from kindergartners.
He shattered LSU's records for single season receiving yards, receiving TDs, yards per catch and would've set the receptions mark had he played this year.
Chase had three different entries on the Tigers' single-game yards top 10 list, dropping a trio of 220+ yard games last season including 221, 2 TDs and 9 catches during the National Championship Game.
The Biletnikoff winner hauled in 84 receptions from 106 total targets, registered six games of 2+ TDs (4 vs Vandy) completed 10 3rd down conversions, grabbed 60 1st downs, posted 58 gains of 15 yards or more, caught 8 TDs of 50+ yards (an NCAA record, inc. game-changing bombs vs Alabama, Clemson and Florida);
Against 7 Top 10 teams, Chase scored 6 TDs, broke free for five 120+ yard games and set the Championship Game record for receiving yards (while facing a few 1st Round draft picks and a #1 ranked defense on 5 occasions);
Across 2019, Chase made 23 Catches after creating full separation, he juked over, under or through opponents for 18x missed tackles after catch, he caught 6 passes while being interfered overall (2 of which were TDs), drew 11 pass interference flags, and dropped 5 passes from 106 total targets (2 of which were TDs)....
....this was just in 2019...he even completed a solo tackle, only 5 less than D-Lineman Justin Thomas, too...
While he was hurt throughout his 2018 freshman season, he caught a pass of 13+ yards in 9 of his 10 appearances, completing 23 catches for 313 yards, scoring 3 TDs and, despite hardly being on the field, the further he played the more LSU scored.
The Tigers dropped 40 points in their final 3 games of 2018 coinciding with Ja'Marr's arrival as a big time threat out wide; no wonder Joe's rise as the best collegiate quarterback came at the same time Chase's knee began to recover.
Also definitely worth mentioning?
Chase was nowhere to be found on the field throughout LSU's 29-0 shutout defeat at home to Alabama....with him on the field, the game becomes far closer, whether he catches a pass or not.
In fact, LSU never lost a game when Chase started or caught in excess of 3 passes, in fact his route-running became so exacting and selfless, he only made everyone around him better...whether it be Joe Burrow, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Kobe Bryant, Duane Allman, Martin Scorsese or even Bill Murray, a true legend always inspires others to geaux above and beyond.
Throughout 2019, on the rare occasion Chase didn't drop 100 yards, his fellow LSU receivers blew up:
Facing UGA and Oklahoma, Chase became a decoy and his space bought Jefferson and Marshall a combined 511 yards, 9 TDs and 32 catches across a pair of POSTSEASON GAMES...Oh and Ja'Marr still found the time to catch another TD, rush for a five yard 1st down and haul in a combined 102 yards on 5 catches.
Chase's greatness forced those around him to elevate further than previously imagined, just to stay in the same conversation as their friend and teammate...he puzzled coaches with his humility, uncompromising work ethic and intensive athleticism....where was the hint of selfishness or the flashes of faux machismo from the alpha receiver???
Maybe that should really be Chase's final LSU legacy...in the end, he stood just a 1,000 yards away from breaking Josh Reed's (previously believed unbreakable) receiving yards record, he was only 3 touchdowns away from breaking Dwayne Bowe's 4 year LSU career mark of 26....8 more total TDs than Bowe's single season TD mark...and who else should be there next to Chase in the record books?
2018-2020 teammates Jefferson and Marshall, the next two names on the single-season receiving TDs list:
20 for Chase, 18 for Jefferson, 13 from Marshall...Jefferson's single season record-setting reception haul also came while on the same squad as Chase;
Terrace Marshall, a freshman with a broken toe who sat out 3 games, caught enough TDs himself to break Bowe's initial record....his rise coincided with Chase & Jefferson's alignment, too, showcasing just how much defensive coordinators feared Ja'Marr Chase's effortless dominance, working towards uncanny perfection & striving for undisputed, unimpeachable greatness...no matter who he played alongside or against, this was a young man who could never be denied.
Embarrassingly, Chase's career could've easily been bungled:
#7 was criminally underrated as the 15th overall WR of the 2018 class by Geaux247, and besides Mickey Joseph, it seemed only Florida's Jim McElwain truly pursued him full throttle. Worst of all, LSU's former head coach Les Miles attempted to turn Chase into a cornerback, an overture which most likely would've directly cost the Tigers a title as much as if Orgeron missed on Joe Burrow's 2018 transfer...
For entertainment though, let's look at the names Chase was listed behind on Geaux247's Top 10 WRs of 2018 list:
#1 Justin Shorter, Penn State (would leave Penn State and transfer to Florida, only making 15 catches 157 yards and 0 TDs in his career)
#2 Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (put up solid numbers in a few seasons at USC, 1,700+ yards and 9 TDs)
#3 TERRACE MARSHALL LSU (elevating ever higher by the day, one of the only names deserving of the Top 10, yet still not better than Chase)
#4 Derion Kendrick, Clemson (would end up playing corner his entire Clemson career, getting toasted by Chase when Terrell needed a breather during the 2020 title game)
#5 Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (1st Round Pick quality WR)
#6 Devon Williams, USC (5 catches, 98 total yards for his career)
#7 Justyn Ross, Clemson (a great career cut short due to a horrific spine injury, won a National Championship and lost another in consecutive seasons for 11 catches 220+ yards and a touchdown, proving key in defeating Alabama and playing strong vs LSU)
#8 Jordyn Adams, UNC (plays for the Los Angeles Anaheim Angels...yup...he doesn't even play football)
#9 Marquis Spiker, Washington (3 games played, 3 catches total)
#10 Brennan Eagles, Texas (33 catches, 557 yards and 6 TDs)
#11 Mark Pope, Miami (19 catches, 277 yards, 2 TDs)
#12 Jacob Copeland, Florida (21 catches 273 yards and grabbed 3 for 25 vs LSU in 2019)
#13 Kamryn Babb, Ohio State (Babb is yet to feature for Ohio State after injury woes)
#14 Kevin Austin, Notre Dame (4 games total, 5 catches and 90 yards)....
Sure, hindsight is 20/20, however Chase was producing plays much like he pulled off at LSU during his time at Rummel High...how Chase slipped to #15 is insanity...
If you wanna know how LSU became so lucky to have Ja'Marr Chase for the two seasons that we did, check out our Top 10 Tigers of 2019 feature on Ja'Marr...the piece geauxs more in depth than any writing or documentary on Chase available...I know because I plundered the internet and my well-connected Louisiana friends for anything and everything I could find on the former Rummel High Raider and now...LSU Tiger.
It hurts to see Ja'Marr walk away from a season he intended to dominate...but what I see in guys who've come since Chase already, Marshall's awesome 2020 season, Kayshon Boutte setting the SEC's all-time receiving yards record with 308 as a freshman, 2021 freshmen like Deion Smith, the versatile Jack Bech, Brian Thomas Jr, Chris Hilton, even the potential return of half TE/half WR Arik Gilbert, it helps me realize just how unbelievable our WR corps will remain because of Chase's enigmatic, Rosetta Stone stamp.
Though some may groan over his opt-out, I'll stuff that down with this:
Forget all that....understand what Ja'Marr was geauxing through:
1. He had nothing left to prove on a collegiate football field, except for pure WR sadism, which it seemed was the anti-competitive proclivity of Devonte Smith.
2. He has a family to take care of with the life-altering finances his sponsorships and NFL career will garner.
3. He's not leaving LSU stranded or screwed.
4. He was trying to play 2020 for his teammates and for us as fans.....
Ja'Marr will be remembered as one of the greatest LSU Tigers of any era: a National Champion (scoring two TDs when LSU were behind and performing better than any WR ever has on that stage), he won the Biletnikoff and could've become only the third player to ever win it twice after Michael Crabtree and Justin Blackmon (all three would've won consecutively), he would've been a true Heisman Trophy candidate in 2020 too, a real leader and of course, he wouldve rocked the iconic #7.....instead, when he opted out, his absence allowed Alabama star wideout & Louisiana-native WR Devonte Smith to waltz into the role of Biletnikoff frontrunner uncontested, capitalizing on weaker defenses, depleted teams from the pandemic's effects, and of course, Sarkisian stealing as much as he could fathom of the 2019 LSU playbook, all while Smith utilized all of Ja'Marr's tricks...
We will never see Ja'Marr Chase in purple and gold again...and though the memories will last a lifetime, much like Tyrann Mathieu, Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Michael Brockers, Greedy Williams, K'Lavon Chaisson it was over far too soon.
Ja'Marr Chase is a straight up megalodon receiver...an eternally elemental Tiger and now as his NFL future dawns, it's a no-brainer answer when asked "Should (fill in the blank) draft Ja'Marr Chase?"
YES...DON'T HESITATE....THIS IS THE NFL IN 2021...WR IS ONLY SECOND IN IMPORTANCE TO THE QUARTERBACK POSITION ITSELF....
Every team should draft Ja'Marr Chase if they have t