Updated: Feb 15, 2021
BEFORE YOU DIVE STRAIGHT INTO #8, YOU MUST SEE WHO WE HAVE AS OUR FIRST TWO ENTRIES INTO THE LIST:
ANDRE ANTHONY (DE)
-5.5 SACKS (team leader)
-4 QB HURRIES (2nd at LSU)
Anthony belongs on this list...
Recruited way back in 2016 by Les Miles, it feels as if Andre Anthony has been at LSU for a century (ONLY over 4 years) and during that timeframe, Anthony has dealt with the gamut of everything a college football player could experience:
Andre was brought in by Les Miles, witnessed that coach's near-firing vs A&M and finally the real firing of Miles after the Auburn calamity.... he watched the arrival of Coach Orgeron, the 2018 UGA upset, the 7 OT game vs A&M, the Bama shutout at Death Valley...then he played in the beating of Bama in Tuscaloosa, the shredding of A&M on senior night 2019, the wild & crazy 3rd & 17 conquest at Texas (1 sack vs Sam Ehlinger)....he's seen it all...
#46 missed a season through injury (Lisfranc surgery), he nearly left the school at one point, he won a National Championship playing for the 2019 Tigers, he's been doubted, questioned, pushed to the furthest reaches of the roster, and in 2020, Anthony rebounded to become LSU's leading sack-master general...
His pressures became a constant focus of the success or failure of the Tigers' 2020 D-Line, even as he battled against high octane freshman B.J Ojulari for reps as the weak side DE:
LSU victories coincided with the success of Anthony this season...when Andre was effective for LSU, the Tigers won...
As he dealt with a mountain of pressure heaped upon him by the LSU coaching staff and fanbase (as "2020 needed to be the season for him to deliver on his promise"), Andre should now feel vindicated after sending that pressure back on to every Tigers' opponent, even as he returns for a second senior year.
Leading LSU in sacks at 5.5, some of his greatest plays weren't even sacks, but rather his frenetic pressures forcing crucial 3rd down incompletions, thus changing potential touchdowns into field goals or 1st downs into punts...highlighted by his hard, gritty work against Florida (2 QB hurries on 3rd down), Arkansas (2 sacks), Ole Miss & A&M.
He was a constant backfield hound, hitting the quarterback and desecrating plays before they began...but there's still room for Andre to improve, quite an exciting prospect for any Tiger fan.
Like most great footballers, it's his unquantifiable work (the stats don't illustrate) which points to Anthony's true greatness....and LSU is extremely glad to have him back for 2021, a once in a lifetime second chance at a senior year...
5.5 sacks across 10 SEC games is fantastic, but just look at the quantum leap his all around play has taken over the past 12 months. At the dawn of the 2020 campaign, Anthony entered the year with only 23 tackles, 1.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks in three full seasons on the field wearing purple and gold....
In 2020's 10 games, he eclipsed those career numbers with 24 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 4 QB Hurries (2nd on the team) and 5.5 TFL....all while one of the highest rated edge rushing phenoms of our time stood behind him, ready to take his chance.
But Andre responded to adversity, showing strong mental character in his production with Ojulari battling him for reps. He was simply too decisive for LSU this year, coming off that edge and burying quarterbacks right as their drives were beginning to take flight, just as they were creeping inside the red zone....
Get ready for an even better season from Anthony, regardless of the extra competition at defensive end in 2021, Andre is ready to blow the roof off this suckah...
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Thank you to so many who've supported LSU ODYSSEY this entire time.
From AG Silver first encouraging me, to Peggy's constant support, or A.D's council and friendship, Clayeth's brotherhood, Tony's mentoring and guidance, Fred From Plano's awesomeness, The Big Chocolate Dipped's hilariousness and humanity, Nursekort's wicked humor & badass intensity, Jamer's topsy-turvy / on & off support, Harold's tough love or Maryrose's dedication:
Some have chosen to get off our train at one stop or another, and I know many will hop back on again somewhere down the road.