Updated: Feb 27
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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
We continue our count down of LSU Odyssey's Best XI Tigers of 2021, and much like last season's Top 10 Tigers of 2020 list, we were forced to analyze a season which will live on as a volatile, dangerous time for LSU, a scary year full of uncertainty and disappointment....
However, through it all, many Tigers treated fans to individual & collective brilliance at an elite level, showing out for the Tigers Community in our darkest, most desperate hours of need.
Who stepped up when LSU needed them most?
We reveal our Best IX Tigers of 2021.....
We keep the countdown going with # III, a Tiger who I hope will leave LSU carrying deserved national awards & a National Championship title of his own as he heads to the NFL, a Tiger who silently boasts effortless athleticism, boundless pace, and constant, high octane play-making / history-taking lessons in greatness....we are lucky to have him on our roster for next season....a true difference-maker capable of changing Tiger fortunes in one full season within any offensive setup....a Tiger who displayed his unstoppable worth....even if he played just half of the year....
KAYSHON BOUTTE (WR)
6 Games (All Starts)
-22 1st Down Catches
-9 Gains of 15+ Yards
-6 3rd Down Conversion Grabs
-5 Red Zone TD Catches
-4 TDs of 25+ Yards
-3 Plays of loss or no gain
-2 TD Catches on 3rd Down
-3 Apps. Of 2+ TDs
-2 Games of 100+ Yards
I understand Pitt's Jordan Addison won the 2021 Biletnikoff Award for the nation's most outstanding receiver, catching an impressive 100 receptions for 17 TDs and 1,593 yards, starting in 14 games....
Still, I must point out...only 1 other college receiver hauled in 9 TDs through their first 6 games of 2021: LSU's sophomore phenom Kayshon Boutte.
The New Iberia native continued the record shattering pace of his freshman season, growing and evolving as one of the elite offensive weapons in college football.
Dusting off, catching over, gliding through, under or around any opponent, whether they be Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Florida, Miss State or Auburn over the past year and a half, LSU's dominant WR reigned supreme.....until his untimely season ending injury vs Kentucky.
Appearing over just 6 games, it's tough to compare Boutte's season against other top receivers such as Alabama WR Jameson Williams, Western Kentucky's Jarreth Sterns or Pitt's Jordan Addison, although looking at his widespread production amid a horror show offensive setup, Boutte's 500+ yards, 9 scores and 38 catches from 53 targets will stand tall when I look back on Kayshon's development.
Led by a scattershot first time coordinator & an overwhelmed / under pressure first year starting QB, lacking a reliable offensive line and therefore no running game through the first 5 games either, LSU's offense became "Boutte or Bust":
The Tigers' record-breaking receiver was surrounded by productive, yet inexperienced or ill-deployed freshmen wideouts & a few upperclassmen who were providing disappointing results; So, on every passing play, Boutte had nowhere to hide, cast as LSU's obvious #1 target.
Comparatively, at Pitt, Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison remained buoyed by three different receivers hauling in 450+ yards, a pair of wide outs catching 6 touchdowns a piece, and another trio with 2-3 scores each.
At LSU, when it came down to big plays and touchdowns against any opponent, Boutte stands as the team's only consistent receiving contributor outside of Jack Bech. When comparing his final half season stats vs his teammates' full year numbers, we finally appreciate the gravity of his production:
Though Boutte was absent for the final 7 games, many of his numbers were left unmatched: Jaray Jenkins finally topped 500 yards on the season after LSU's final game, still 6 yards shy of Boutte's 508, while remaining 4 catches and 3 TDs short of the LSU #1's six game output.
At the end of 13 games, 7 without him, Boutte was still first on the team in receiving yards, touchdowns & marginally second regarding receptions.
LSU's roster contained just two other players with 4+ touchdowns.
Even after watching every target again, I must also say this:
Outside of UCLA & a few long scores vs Miss St or Auburn, Boutte didn't even go off in 2021....he effortlessly walked his way into 9 TDs while playing for a blind offensive coordinator, under the meddling thumb of a chaotic, kamikaze lame duck head coach, receiving throws from a run-first quarterback with one foot out the door....we were only able to witness Boutte's overwhelming brilliance for such a short time span, and during every snap, Boutte faced intense attrition.
I know he can raise his level far beyond 2021's most spectacular moments, simply benefiting from a more nuanced, aggressive offensive direction under Mike Denbrock and WRs Coach / Passing Game Coordinator Cortez Hankton.
From 2020-2021, Kayshon enjoyed a fruitful on field relationship alongside QB Max Johnson, catching 14 TDs over just 12 total appearances together. These two produced these numbers as Johnson was running for his life, throwing slightly off target passes while Boutte was perpetually double covered....
LSU's #1 Tiger made a habit of catching TDs carrying 2 defenders on his back, another smashing him over the top, the ball behind him and late....in two seasons as a Tiger, Boutte excelled within a dysfunctional offense...imagine what Kayshon Boutte will be able to accomplish with Walker Howard, Myles Brennan or Garrett Nussmeier at quarterback, lining up next to Jack Bech, Deion Smith, Malik Nabers, Chris Hilton Jr, Brian Thomas Jr, Kyren Lacy, Ethan Laing and Evan Francioni, led by Brian Kelly & Cortez Hankton, schemed by Mike Denbrock...
For all those reading, I want you to know right now: just as we said before 2021, calling him the next Biletnikoff winner, 2022 era Kayshon Boutte is about to erase the competition....no matter who ends up starting at quarterback....
OUR ELECTRIC BOUTTE CONTENT:
THE #1 WR IN AMERICA (pub.10/6/21)
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
SHOUTOUTS: Thank You Kayshon for an Incredible 2021 Season! We Cannot Wait For You To Dominate & Own 2022 This September-January!!
Dedicated to the Boutte Family!