10 things to know about LSU DB Derek Stingley Jr.
LSU has lost a lot of marquee players since it won the national championship nearly 9 months ago.
Some ran out of eligibility, some left early for the NFL Draft, some opted out in recent days.
But the Tigers still have one of the most dynamic players in college football in cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
He was one of the best players in the country as a freshman last season and figures to make even more headlines this season.
Here are 10 things you should know about Derek Stingley Jr.:
1. Good genes from 2 generations
His grandfather was the late Darryl Stingley, a wide receiver drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots in the 1973 draft whose career was cut short when he was paralyzed in a preseason game 5 years later. Derek Stingley Sr., played minor league baseball and arena football.
2. Looked the part right away
Stingley didn’t have much time to get to know his grandfather as he was just 5 years old when his grandfather died.
But when the youngster was 4 he visited his grandfather and showed off his fledgling football skills.
Darryl didn’t need to see much before he proclaimed that his grandson was “going to be special.”
He was right.
3. Started walking backward at 4
Derek Sr. already knew what he had before his father confirmed it. Derek Sr. knew he had a future cornerback and started teaching him how to backpedal at the age of 4.
It paid off.
4. Talk about playing up
Stingley didn’t just start playing football at a young age, but he had an opportunity to compete against players older than him – a lot older.
His father would bring him to practice when the elder Stingley was coaching in the Arena Football League. So Stingley would practice against professionals more than twice his age.
No, he didn’t hold his own.
But when he competed against his peers, they had almost as hard a time keeping up with him as he had with the pros.
5. The coaching continued in high school
The father-son teamwork took on a more formal nature when Stingley enrolled at The Dunham School in Baton Rouge.
Stingley’s father was the secondary coach and continued to hone his son’s skills throughout his high-school career. By the time he graduated, Stingley was the No. 1-ranked cornerback in the country, the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana and the No. 3-ranked player overall in the country. In the 247Sports.com’s recruiting rankings era, only 4 defensive backs received a higher grade than Stingley, who ranked No. 71 all-time.
6. Word spread quickly in Baton Rouge
It didn’t take long for Stingley to become well-known around Baton Rouge.
Word of the young phenom quickly spread across town to the LSU campus and then-Tigers coach Les Miles offered Stingley a scholarship when Stingley was a high school freshman in 2015.
Miles was fired the next season, but Stingley ultimately signed with Miles’ replacement – Ed Orgeron
7. Who dat a Patriots fan?
Even though he grew up in Baton Rouge, fewer than 100 miles from the New Orleans Saints and the Superdome, Stingley has always been a Patriots fan.
His choice was made out of respect for his grandfather and his NFL career.
8. Grabbing interceptions and accolades
It didn’t take Stingley long to make his first college interception. It came in the 4th game of last season – against Vanderbilt.
It became a habit as he made another interception in the Tigers’ next game (against Utah State) and he did again in the game after that (against Florida).
He went on to lead the SEC with 6 interceptions, was a consensus All-American and the most decorated freshman in LSU history.
9. More than just a DB for DBU
Stingley isn’t just a defensive player. He averaged 9.6 yards on 17 punt returns last season and Orgeron has flirted with the prospect of giving him a few plays on offense.
The expectation has been that the opportunity on offense most likely would come in Stingley’s junior season. But in the wake of LSU’s skill-player losses from the CFP Championship team, maybe that timetable will change.
10. Dynamic, regardless of number
One of those key losses was reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase, who recently opted out of the season to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Chase had been selected to wear jersey No. 7, which traditionally goes to whoever is expected to be the most dynamic Tiger in the upcoming season. As soon as Chase made his decision, the general assumption was that No. 7 would be passed to Stingley.
But Stingley tweeted his jersey number (24) with a lock next to it, apparently saying he would stick with his jersey number from last season.
Regardless of what number he wears, the expectation remains that he will be the most dynamic LSU player and one of the most dynamic players in the country.