Updated: May 28
5 SACKS (3 sacks vs Arkansas)
-Only LSU player to produce multiple sacks, passes deflected, tackles, INTs and TFL in 2019
-7+ Tackles in 10 games
Played All 15 Games in 2019
"Jacoby is a very special football player," Bo Pelini described recently, "there's a wide assortment of ways we could use him. I see him as a leader on this defense."
....and so do we...
We believe (thanks to firsthand LSU insider sourcing) it's only a matter of time before Stevens is unveiled as our new #18 on defense, accepting the mantle, carrying on the legacy and making sure the young talents within Pelini's squad understand the LSU Standard of Performance.
Who better to hold these freshmen and sophomores accountable than the all-encompassing madcap fever of Stevens' boundless NFL-ready abilities???
Tell me who???
In fact, many believed Jacoby would join the rest of his fellow juniors in departing to the NFL, guys like Jacob Phillips, Grant Delpit and Patrick Queen.
As one of the lone survivors of the magical 2017 class (alongside Kary Vincent Jr), Jacoby will be tasked with multiple responsibilities while in the strong safety position.
Sure, many would say Jacoby isn't the most adept safety in coverage (as could be seen by Ceedee Lamb's 50+ yard catch over Stevens during the Peach Bowl);
Although the former LSU wide out surprises us all in the air, using his robust length to pick off 3 passes last year (the equivalent of Delpit & Fulton's INTs combined), headlined by his ridiculous display of range when hunting down bombs vs Mississippi State and Vanderbilt like a heat-seeking missile.
Against Mississippi State, Stevens left the ground, launching himself high above like an empirical Tim Duncan clone, and reached aloft with one authoritative right hand, taking the ball out of the sky and hauling in the one-handed interception. When playing Vanderbilt, Instead of plowing through the action like many strong safeties, the National Champion flew to the ball like a heat-seeking missile from his right side station clear to Fulton's left, both hands reaching high above the receiver and ripping the ball from the wide out's helpless hands....
Next, he's shown his monstrous ability to time a hit too, such as his empire of doom blast of Amari Rodgers during the title game, knocking out the 1st Round Draft pick thanks to a pummeling hit, tailing off the aggression at the precise moment to avoid a penalty.
Stevens may just be the smartest player in LSU's secondary and his return to the team is a godsend for Bo Pelini's first season back.
Without his strident leadership and versatility, LSU's defensive outlook would be far more uncertain...instead, Jacoby's selfless choice to finish out his Tigers career in full has boosted an already incredibly talented secondary.
The story about Jacoby Stevens and Joe Burrow fighting during practice, thus earning each other's respect, is a firm detail of why Stevens' return was imperative for LSU to have a great defense.
In football, a sport rooted in violence, leadership comes in different ways...sometimes through scoring touchdowns, on other occasions screaming at each other, but for quickest results, a punch to the face of your G.O.A.T quarterback will do the trick.
Jacoby punched Joe Burrow, igniting a brawl which tightened the team's camaraderie, planting these 2019 Tigers as a firm throwback, fighting like barbarians cut from the same cloth of past champions....in the end, Stevens' fearlessness to hold anyone and everyone accountable sticks out from the brawl.
And to think this guy started at wide receiver vs Troy in 2017....
When you scan the names on this secondary list, you see great players left and right...yet, we don't see DBs possessing years of starting experience outside of Jacoby and Vincent Jr.
Stevens finishing his senior year allows LSU's secondary to be much more creative and flexible...in fact, we could see many of his reps positioned at or near the linebacker area, acting as a fourth linebacker at times, an extra pass-rusher on others, and an adept coverage guy in behind when called upon...but yet again, we feel Stevens will be bringing the ultimate damage upon the line of scrimmage time and time again.
In fact, this secondary is now positioned to become the greatest Tigers secondary since 2011, showcasing Stevens as their master of decadent reality.
86 Tackles, 8.5 TFL, 1 Sack, 2 INT, 7 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR (RETURNED FOR DEFENSIVE TD)
(Profile Projections Statistics are based on 12 game regular season only)
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by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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