Updated: Oct 9
HERE TODAY TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTIC VOICES OVER THE WOKE LEGACY MEDIA MACHINE
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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....and on the first day, heaven and earth were created.....then, Malik turned to Brian and said 'let's both geaux and win Biletnikoff Awards..."
Following in the footsteps of LSU's greatest all time receivers, names such as Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Josh Reed, Odell Beckham Jr, Dwayne Bowe, Wendell Davis, and Michael Clayton, among so many others, 2023 Tigers Malik Nabers & Brian Thomas Jr are now beginning to dominate all of college football at a frightening rate of play...inching closer with every passing game towards joining that pantheon of LSU greats.
As of now, Monday following Week 5's 55-49 loss to Ole Miss, the dynamic receiving duo reeled in 13 combined touchdowns, gained 1,158 shared yards, registered a 200 yard game (Malik vs Mississippi State), ended most of their nights recording over 100 yards (6 combined 100+ yard outings, 3 each), while producing consistent, big time plays.....which continue to keep LSU's 3-2 squad in games its defense try everything to lose....
Many will rush to compare these two with Tiger WR tandems of yesteryear, such as Jefferson & Chase or Beckham Jr & Landry, however Nabers & Thomas Jr are truly revelatory on their own accord and in their own time.
Both of these junior, third year Tigers haven't had it all their way at the college ranks, either, earning everything the hard way.
Facing adversity during various points of their LSU careers, each Louisiana-native receiver continued to produce & contribute, even when suffering injuries, off-field mishaps, or when given rare on-field opportunities.
Despite the intense criticism, Nabers eclipsed 1,000 yards last season, even while being the #2 or even #3 option behind veterans Kayshon Boutte and Jaray Jenkins; He also received very few end zone rewards for his constant earning of tough yardage.
Brian Thomas Jr was hardly targeted when it mattered last season, only encountering the ball at random, fleeting moments that never sustained any rhythm for #11. He also roughed up his shoulder during the second half of the SEC Championship Game.
Criticism even hounded Brian Thomas Jr in 2023, immediately following the Florida State defeat due to his drop on a wayward, underthrown pass (he finished the game posting 142 yards, 7 catches and 1 TD).
Now, they've been fully unleashed:
After just 3 receiving scores last fall for Malik Nabers, the former Comeaux High School superstar and one time Mississippi State commit is rolling in 5 TDs through 5 appearances this season, including 2 TDs vs Arkansas and Mississippi State.
Nabers' receiving yards rank 2nd in the nation at 625 (trailing Mizzou's #1 Luther Burden by a mere 19 yards), his all purpose marks placed 26th in the entire country, plus, #8 is catching the 3rd most receiving yards per game at 125.0;
Through five weekends, Nabers caught 5 passes in every game thus far, pulling down 8 grabs or more across 3 appearances, headlined by his 4th all time single game LSU receiving haul of 13 catches, 239 yards and 2 scores vs Mississippi State.
Additionally, Malik is 5th in America regarding receptions per game (8.0) and total catches (45).
Crazily, Malik caught all 13 targets which went his way vs Ole Miss this past Saturday night, and during his iconic 200 yard receiving outburst @ Miss St, peeling off all 13 targets his way that morning.
The Tigers' Biletnikoff candidate also completed 5 contested catches out of 8 overall contested targets.
Adding some old fashioned, hard-nosed possession receiver attributes to his game, Malik's playmaking after the catch earned 32 first downs, made 9 attempted tacklers miss, gained 201 yards after catch as he averaged 15.6 each grab.
Constantly helping his quarterback out of a jam, there's a reason Nabers is Jayden Daniels' #1 target on critical downs: He's converted 11 of 14 passing attempts on 3rd or 4th down, scoring once vs Miss St.
At times in the shadow of Nabers, #2 WR Brian Thomas Jr was challenged by Head Coach Brian Kelly to reach his potential this season. Outside of that aforementioned high profile drop vs Florida State, Walker High's former 5 star recruit is pretty much perfect through 5 games.
Already topping his 5 TDs last season (the 2nd most on the team, in what was not a receiver friendly offense), Thomas Jr leads the country holding the most receiving touchdowns of anyone (8) alongside 537 yards backed by 33 catches.
Ranking 16th concerning receptions per game at 6.6, Thomas Jr has been a nonstop favorite target of Jayden Daniels, receiving 40 attempts his way.
Just like Malik, BTJ caught at least 5 receptions in every game so far. Going more in depth, from 40 overall targets, Thomas Jr caught 33 balls, highlighted by his towering omnipresence bringing down 5 of 7 contested catch attempts his way.
Proving how critical he's been to the team, Brian converted 21 first downs, while punching in 7 of 8 passing attempts his direction on 3rd or 4th down, scoring 3 touchdowns on those critical downs.
Add 7 missed tackles forced, 165 yards after catch, and an average of 16.3 per grab, Brian Thomas Jr does it all.
While these two receivers are nowhere near finished on their current LSU Odysseys, we have to wonder: Just how much longer will Tigers fans be able to enjoy Malik & Brian's receiving onslaught???
At this current rate they're producing, you better take it all in and really enjoy every last snap from these two DB destroyers....because every NFL scout is drooling over the possibilities alongside Malik or Brian at the NFL level.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
©️ 2023 Uninterrupted Writings Inc, a subsidiary of Uninterrupted Media LLC
As always our stats are collected and analyzed from Pro Football Focus, Sports Reference, ESPN (usually for TFL accuracy), and LSU's own official stat tracker.