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YOU CAN'T GUARD ME: MALIK NABERS 2023 LSUODYSSEY PROFILE

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN


They don't call LSU "Wide Receiver University" or "WRU" for nothing....
Since the last legendary crop of WRs departed Baton Rouge for the NFL back in January 2020, Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson & Terrace Marshall , the Tigers still continue to recruit & produce receivers that rank among the best in America.

Malik Nabers continues that tradition, yet another WRU Alpha standing among the top wide outs in the game, capable of playing & succeeding anywhere on the field, making game-changing catches look routine, all topped off by his stunning moves, patient vision & crossfire agility after the catch....

....with a freshman year All-SEC selection from a season that produced 4 TDs from just 28 catches (in 11 appearances), before climbing to an All-American level in 2022, LSU's #8 (or future #7...) is ready to cap his Tiger career with a massive campaign beginning this September.

Finishing over 1,000 yards receiving last fall, during a season where LSU receivers were often starved of the football, Malik Nabers produced gutty catches against tight coverage time and time again (11 outright contested catches made), often on critical downs, or during game-altering moments:

Case in point, his performance at the end of LSU's comeback win over Mississippi State, where QB Jayden Daniels hit Nabers on a trio of "had to have it" third down completions, backed by a major 4th down conversion; or what about Malik winning his dual against former Tiger Eli Ricks vs Alabama, roasting & toasting his old teammate on multiple plays before frustrating Ricks into a pair of flags; or....did you witness his 291 combined yards, 14 catches and 2 TDs vs Georgia and Purdue in consecutive appearances?

With QB Jayden Daniels showing solid improvement from his inconsistent or at times anonymous passing acumen throughout 2022, possibly hitting Malik down field on far more occasions this year, expect Nabers to get close to or eclipse his 1,017 yards and most specifically his paltry number of 3 TDs, 2 arriving in the final pair of games.

Last season, to Head Coach Brian Kelly's chagrin, Daniels ignored Malik (among others) when wide open down field, instead opting for gains with his feet.

While this offense was no doubt successful, there's still a reason LSU lost 4 games, including 2 they had no business coughing up, marred by a Texas A&M beatdown where DJ Durkin's squad anticipated JD5's every move, blew up the line of scrimmage, and bottled Daniels up.

In 2023, following Jayden's electrifying 1,000 yard season on the ground, every opponent will aim to stop #5's legs....forcing the former Arizona State transfer to trust his receivers, backs & tight ends far more than he did last fall.....and which wide out did he happen to trust the most in 2022???

Malik "You Can't Guard Me" Nabers, hauling in 72 receptions on the year from 100 targets; Expect those numbers & the big plays from each catch to rise as Daniels looks down field more often in 2023, aiming to unleash Malik's savage yards after catch abilities (418 total YAC, 5.88 YAC per catch).

Don't forget 2nd string QB Garrett Nussmeier's tight friendship with Malik, too; their chemistry has blossomed over these past 2 seasons together (Nuss tossed 2 of Malik's 4 TDs in 2021 and a 3rd scoring connection during the 2022 SEC Championship Game).

Forcing 23 missed tackles last year, 1st in the SEC among receivers (PFF.com), while averaging over 14 yards per grab, Malik will no doubt continue to be Daniels' first choice target, as evidenced by LSU's first offensive play during this past month's Spring Game:

As LSU's offense took to the field for their opening play from scrimmage, Daniels snapped the ball along the red zone, then unconsciously tossed Malik a perfectly timed, perfectly thrown pass to the corner of the end zone, Nabers hovering above JK Johnson to haul in the pass directly over the outstretched arms of his defender....

Was the pass-happy Spring Game a declaration of things to come....a changing of the offensive guard heading into 2023 possessing the SEC & possibly college football's best overall receiving corps??? Or just a detour due to a banged up offensive line & running back room??

Regardless, there's plenty of excitement when thinking about all the moving parts of Mike Denbrock's offense:

....that touchdown pass was replete with such swagger & precise improvement it was obvious Jayden and Malik put in extra work together throughout the off-season.

It was just touchdown number one for Nabers in a season which should showcase LSU's #8 (or #7) at his absolute pinnacle best...in what could be his final year in purple and gold......

....Buckle up, it's going to be a riot.


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2023 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

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2 comentários


Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Lonn Phillips Sullivan
20 de nov. de 2023

This Aged Well 😄

Curtir

All the potential in the world. If Jayden improves his downfield passing Malik will be a big part of the success.

Curtir
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