The Next Era of LSU Football is Here
The LSU Tigers have enjoyed the luxury of multiple first-round talents over the last few years. In fact, 10 former Tigers have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft since 2017. They’ve seen a massive portion of their wide receiver room leave the university in the past two seasons as well. Justin Jefferson, Jamarr Chase, and Terrace Marshall Jr. all had very strong careers at LSU, but it means young players are going to need to step up in 2021. The good news for Tigers fans is we may have already gotten a glimpse of the school’s next great wide receiver.
Kayshon Boutte had an impressive freshman year in 2020, capping it off with an SEC-record 308 receiving yards against Ole Miss. Boutte is set to be WR1 for the Tigers in 2021, and he brings a skillset with him that could lead to yet another LSU wide receiver being selected in the first round.
While his 45/735/5 receiving slashline is impressive for a freshman, especially as a freshman coming into a season as chaotic as 2020 was, it’s clear LSU has barely scratched the surface of Boutte’s potential. Boutte himself has a similar feeling about his own skills. Here is what he said in a recent interview for The Daily Iberian.
“I feel like I can set big numbers in this offense. Last year, I think the thing I did best was speed, getting out of my breaks. This offseason, I focused on being more physical and bettering my route running, blocking for sure. Everything to be the best athlete I can be.”
During his high school career at Westgate, Boutte did it all. He was a stellar receiver, played out of the backfield as a runner, and he showed off his elusivity in the kick return game. His statline finished like this:
Receiving- 47 catches, 1005 yards, 15 TDs
Rushing- 71 attempts, 874 yards, 12 TDs
Kick/Punt Returning- 17 returns, 480 yards, 3 TDs
Clearly there is another level to Boutte’s game. He is motivated, and why wouldn’t he be with the LSU WR1 position up for grabs? LSU has brought in a number of talented freshmen at wide receiver this year; all of whom will be competing with him for that spot. That said, Boutte is the clear favorite right now as LSU begins discovering just how much he can do.
In 2020, Boutte was almost exclusively an X receiver. He was clearly productive from that spot, but limiting him to that one spot sets a ceiling on his production. Already this spring, we saw him line up at X, Z, and in the backfield. He seems much more confident and decisive with his routes than he ever was in 2020 as well.
The biggest question with LSU comes at the quarterback position right now. After Joe Burrow’s departure for the NFL, there’s been a void at the position that has not been filled. The Tigers obviously need to get this figured out in order to get as much out of Boutte as they can.
This spring, they’ve been playing four different guys in an attempt to find a consistent starter: Max Johnson, Myles Brennan, TJ Finley and Garrett Nussmierier. Whoever ends up as the starter for the season opener will have a much easier time knowing they have an expanded, more confident version of Kayshon Boutte as a top target.