by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Only a week after creating a full breakdown of every safety across LSU's roster, showing maximum belief in our coverage of Daronte Jones' options, LSU loses a big time member of the National Championship team to the clutches of the transfer portal....free safety Mo Hampton hits the portal today, most likely due to a relationship breakdown with Tigers' baseball coach Paul Manieri.
And this is the cue for people to ask "baseball????"
Yes, many mainstream Tigers fans or national readers won't know Mo Hampton is also an outfielder for LSU's baseball team, playing two sports and actually practicing / playing with Manieri's squad rather than the football team right now.
Well, then is this really that bad for the Tigers' football team?
If Mo Hampton's attention is solely on baseball, transferring out of the outcome of his baseball adventure at LSU, then why would Daronte Jones ever start him against a high quality opponent, anyway?
Hampton Jr could pull off the two sport thing:
As a reliable freshman option often utilized by Dave Aranda, he was unreal during the last part of LSU's 2019 title run. He appeared in only 4 games, grabbing 10 tackles and 1 PD (including a dramatic annihilation of Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts early in the CFP semifinal), yet his outfielder's range at the backend allowed Jacoby Stevens free reign towards the line of scrimmage as well as affording Grant Delpit a little more security to play his more natural "QB reader, play-hunter" game.
Heading into LSU's 2020 campaign, Mo Hampton was slated as many analysts' starting free safety, including mine, and though he'd lose the job to Todd Harris, he ended up featuring in 8 of LSU's 10 contests...but he struggled (just like the rest of our defense) most of the time.
Due to the off-season hype after his brilliant 2019 showings, the criticism was rough and Mo's mistakes stuck out like a sore thumb, vacating an entire quadrant of the field when he was the only man in the spot, leading to a wide open touchdown...illustrating the exact issues surrounding the Tigers' 2021 defense.
Finishing with 27 total tackles, 19 solo and 2 TFLs, Mo Hampton is leaving LSU before he's really hit his peak. We expected high octane performances in 2020, however due to the entire defense's failures, can we really subject Hampton to such insane criticism when I can name 20+ guys off the top of my head who also had blatantly missed tackles or blown coverages?
At least Mo Hampton blew up some plays at the goal-line with Jacoby Stevens against Florida and disturbed and destroyed in the last few games of the year alongside the rest of the group, influencing his teammates' improved performances.
I had faith he would recover for 2021 and respond with a blistering season, but it appears due to baseball coach Paul Manieri's neglect of Mo Hampton, he may leave the program, entering his name into the transfer portal.
On one hand you can say 'maybe he's more into baseball than football so, it's not a big deal if he goes, he should go get his money' or you can think 'man, he could've been an all-time great safety at LSU with his talents'....
I tend to feel both...
Geaux forth young man: play baseball if you need to, get paid, take care of your family and enjoy a long career.
But if Hampton wants to go, LSU's Daronte Jones has to move on at the safety position and stick with the next decision he makes....whether Mo returns or not.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Peace, love and prosperity be unto you, Maurice Hampton Jr!
You're a great young man and I look forward to whatever your next chapter has in store!