Updated: Feb 27
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
@LonnPhillips 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 one of the premier sack artists in America, a man who led the country in sacks for the first half of the season....
B.J OJULARI (DE)
48 TACKLES (27 SOLO)
22 QB HITS
11 TFL (2nd)
Despite the fact all 6 of his sacks came in the first 7 games, Ojulari continued to produce strong performances when the Tigers lost starters Andre Anthony, Ali Gaye and Joseph Evans to injuries and an opt out, leaving the Nigerian Prince as the primary playmaker along their fractured D-line.
Later in the year, when he was tasked with playing a deeper role, or even dropping outside to cut off screens like a 3-4 LB/DE hybrid, you saw some of his sacks disappear; More cerebrally, the film tells us an entirely different story about a player who can provide a wide range of dynamism and influence.
Ojulari's long arms cancelled short passing lanes against Alabama, Arkansas, A&M & Florida, holding all of the above to well below their season passing averages without elite cornerbacks Derek Stingley Jr & Eli Ricks.
Yes, Ojulari has only 1 PBU to his name, but through forcing intentional grounding calls or his 26 pressures also creating 7 direct incompletions (from QBs running for their lives before heaving the ball a million miles into the stands), the Georgia-raised defensive end was let loose to display his virtuosic versatility.
Though LSU's more pragmatic approach against Miss State, Alabama, Arkansas and A&M negated Ojulari's sacking ability, the sophomore continued to disturb the backfield, reeling off tackles for loss & pressures, amassing 26 total alongside a feverish 22 QB hits, unofficial statistics we tallied game by game, snap by snap throughout the year.
Some may point to his lower than expected sack total as proof of "regression" in B.J's game, however I completely disagree. Ojulari was without question a key contributor to the Tigers' 6 wins by his mere presence & athletic abilities, stuffing the run game of Alabama to just 6 yards, holding all of Florida's nationally leading rushers to 38 yards or less, and cutting Arkansas' run game average nearly in half, much like Farrell Jr, Roy and of course linebackers Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark, #8 was a freak of nature along Andre Carter's front.
You can see his evolution now, from his 3 sacks vs South Carolina as a freshman, his forced fumble & fumble recovery vs Missouri and Florida, then his tail off at the end of the year, a season in which he appeared in 8 of 10 games, starting just once vs Auburn.
Now, with one game remaining in his second season, starting every game after Week 1, we witnessed a more mature, consistent performance as he led the Tigers' defense from a variety of positions or points of attack.
Ojulari is building towards a legendary junior year, one of those special seasons we've seen from recent elite Tigers (White, Queen, Chaisson, etc) forged through hard fought experience, brutal tenacity, and the wild ups and downs of being an LSU Tiger during the turbulent 2020-2021 era.
Despite incredible attrition in and around campus, plus a freshman year where he didn't start, followed by & a sophomore season where B.J was asked to do a job for the team, sacrificing his own individual statistics for collective success, the elite defensive end remains as committed as ever to LSU.
OUR B.J OJULARI CONTENT:
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
SHOUTOUTS: B.J Ojulari, you had an incredible season! We love you!!