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YOUR NEW #7 AND #18....

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by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

FOLLOW US ON X/TWITTER @LonnPhillips

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Early on Saturday, LSU football announced the newest recipients of their traditional #7 and #18 jerseys: #7 representing Louisiana playmaking greatness & #18 an emblem of leadership, perseverance, intensity & incredible talent.

#7?

Think Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Ja'Marr Chase (even though he never wore it in a game).

Following last year's picks of Kayshon Boutte (#7) and BJ Ojulari (#18), LSU stunned the Tigers world by going a bit off script:

Usually the #7 has gone to the best playmaker on the team, i.e always a receiver, always a defensive back: Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Grant Delpit, Derek Stingley Jr, then a few receivers rocked 7, DJ Chark, Ja'Marr Chase (not in a game), Kayshon Boutte etc.....

But this time, Head Coach Brian Kelly wanted to emphasize a certain criteria for #7: "we want to build upon that tradition and honor the best player on our team from the state of Louisiana."

So, in 2023, that #7 honor went to the last person anyone guessed: sophomore starting left tackle WILL CAMPBELL.


Is he a playmaker?

You could definitely argue he is, just not in the traditional touchdown / turnover-creation sense.

Is he worthy of #7?

Absolutely.

Give Campbell any honor you wish, because, as many have pointed out, there is a "curse" from recent years attached to #7.

Following 2019, where #7 recipient Grant Delpit dealt with a variety of intense issues on and off the field (despite winning a National Championship & a Thorpe Award), anyone who wore the jersey fell into quicksand:

Almost as if Delpit's 2019 became a symbol for the pressure of wearing #7, even guys who had okay seasons or fine careers thereafter found their #7 season to be among the most difficult campaigns of their football lives: Boutte's turbulent & unimaginably poor 2022, Stingley's season ending injury in week 3, Jacoby Stevens' poor form (even letting former Auburn QB Bo Nix run him over), Ja'Marr Chase (opted out only weeks after receiving the honor), it continues and continues from there.....

Outside of a devastating injury, Will Campbell is curse-proof and you know BK and co thought about this one for a while.

Surely Perkins & Nabers were both in discussions to wear #7, although I feel Campbell is the right choice, despite the weirdness of a giant left tackle rocking #7.

However, this does mean Will Campbell will wear #7 for two seasons....becoming the first Tiger to wear #7 for two years since Leonard Fournette; only Patrick Peterson wore #7 multiple seasons before Lenny.

As for LSU's newest #18, following defensive edge rusher BJ Ojulari last season, another defensive lineman takes on the jersey which resembles the Tigers' most selfless, fearless and talented leader: MEKHI WINGO.


Wingo has continuously given everything for his adapted team, transferring to Baton Rouge from Missouri, over just a year and a half ago; Since his arrival, the All-SEC freshman at Mizzou witnessed his fortunes multiply at a massive, rapid rate:

He's been entrusted as member of BK's accountability teams, listed among LSU's All-Academic team consistently, named an official "S.W.A.T team leader" only months upon his LSU arrival.

Wingo fit in seamlessly, applying pressure to anyone's position along the defensive line and strengthening both lines of scrimmage with his tireless, relentless play.

Wingo rose to the moment in 2022, coming off the bench to take over LSU's starting defensive tackle position, playing just under 900 snaps (821 Snaps, 47 Tackles, 25 Pressures, 6 TFLs, 5 PBUs, 3.5 Sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble), all as he became the only Tiger selected to the AP All-American team while receiving All-SEC honors.

Since his high profile rise as a versatile backfield destroyer and OL disruptor, he's been one of 11 overall players selected to the SEC Leadership Council, as well, while featuring on the Outland & Bronco Nagurski award watchlists.


by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

FOLLOW US ON X/TWITTER @LonnPhillips

FOLLOW US ON IG @lsuodyssey

Copyright 2023 Uninterrupted Writings Inc, a subsidiary of Uninterrupted Media LLC

UPDATED ERROR FIXED

We erroneously credited Patrick Peterson as the only Tiger to ever wear the #7 jersey.

That wasn't correct. Running back Leonard Fournette wore #7 his entire career as a Tiger.


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2 Comments


I love these choices. Let’s let the skill position players separate themselves once the season starts. I know these two will lead.

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BayouTigerGal
BayouTigerGal
Aug 26, 2023

Wow!!! Great choices!! I love the new # 7 criteria. Let’s freaking geaux!!! 💜💛💜🐯

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