For some odd reason the LSU Tigers either get overlooked or underestimated, sometimes both, prior to the start of each regular season — despite consistently recruiting as well as anyone in the country.

Sure they virtually lose dozens to the NFL annually, but they have talent out the wazoo, and head coach Les Miles may be the best in the country at getting recruits to maximize their full potential.

Critics point to the abundance of youth — at key positions — as one of the major reasons why the Bayou Bengals won’t contend for the SEC crown.

And while losing a 3,000-yard passer (Zach Mettenberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Jeremy Hill) is a lot to overcome, when you boast the type of incoming talent (and coaching) that LSU does, anything’s possible.

As the No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation, freshman running back Leonard Fournette is receiving a ton of hype — as he should. Anytime you have be countlessly compared to the great Adrian Peterson, you’re doing something right.

But it’s fellow incoming freshman receiver Malachi Dupre who has my undivided attention — as I wholeheartedly believe he may be every bit Fournette’s equal when it’s all said and done. We’ve seen uber freshmen like A.J. Green (University of Georgia) and Julio Jones (University of Alabama) come in and make an immediate impact.

We may eventually be talking about Dupre in that same vein; this kid is just that talented.

Athletically Gifted

“I like our receivers,” LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron recently said (h/t to Glenn Guilbeau of The News Star). “Malachi Dupre has special abilities. We expect him to produce right away. We’re not hoping for him to start playing well in a couple of years. Not at LSU.”

Producing is the least Cameron should expect from such a polished receiver the likes of Dupre. At 6’3″, 187 pounds, Dupre has the fluidity, speed, quickness and leaping ability to be off the charts from day one.

Cameron’s offense is based off vertical concepts; quarterbacks read deep to short. QBs like Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers), Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) and LSU’s own Zach Mettenberger have challenged offenses vertically behind the philosophy of Cameron.

Some of the best deep-threats in the NFL, and college, have had a hand in Cameron’s play-action based scheme: Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Malcom Floyd (Chargers), Torrey Smith (Ravens) and Beckham come to mind.

When your scheme is based off a power-run game, you need receivers who can beat man coverage or threaten two- and three-deep zones.


Here’s a prime example of Dupre’s ability to stretch a defense. Although he runs a reported 4.5 40-yard dash, much like Green, he’s a deceptive long-strider that knows how to properly run routes.

On this “Stutter-Go,” he bends the route inside the cornerback allowing for room on the throw out past the numbers. By possessing the ability to adjust to the ball in flight, Dupre is able to make difficult over-the-shoulder catches look rather routine.

His ability to separate is not unlike that of Beckham’s. As a matter of fact, expect Dupre to step right into Beckham’s vacated Z-receiver role.


Here we see Dupre doing his best Randy Moss impersonation in splitting the two-deep coverage. Defenses will have to pick its poison against the LSU offense as it will be heavy on the run. By dropping a safety down in the box to assist with the smash-mouth run game, you virtually leave your corners on an island attempting the Cover-1 approach.

Usually when you have an athletic freak on the field, like Dupre, you try to thwart his abilities by always providing help over the top in the form of Cover 2. But with Fournette, Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee in the backfield, you may have no choice but to provide in-the-box help.

Here Dupre gets on top of the safety so fast that it ended up looking choreographed.  When you encounter a guy that lanky, it just doesn’t look like he’s moving that fast. Gaining that type of separation will be imperative while LSU looks to break in either Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris — both potential first-year starters at QB– in Cameron’s pro-style offensive attack.

Route-Running Prowess

What made LSU’s passing game so effective last season was the uncanny ability for both Landy (5’11”, 203 lbs) and Beckham (6’0″, 194 lbs) to properly run routes. While Cameron’s first order of business is to vertically stretch the field, he also counts on his receivers to be adept in the short-to-intermediate game.

For being a taller receiver, Dupre may be the smoothest I’ve ever seen getting in and out of his breaks. He makes seamless transitions which works well in conjunction with his fantastic body control.

I’ve mentioned it before, but he compares favorably to Green (6’4″, 207), who is also a great route runner for a taller receiver. Losing Beckham and Landry and possibly replacing them with the next Green(and Adrian Peterson for that matter), sure speaks volumes about LSU as a whole.


Here’s an up close version of Dupri’s route-running prowess. On this “Stutter-Go,” Dupre effectively separates this cornerback from his own ankles in the double-move portion of the route.

What’s even more impressive is his off-the-ball quickness. His get-off move is akin to that of a much smaller slot receiver; receivers this tall aren’t supposed to be that agile.

He then tops it off by plucking the ball out of the air for the over-the-shoulder catch. It’s one thing to let it fall in the bread basket to make the catch, it’s entirely another to reach out overhand and secure the ball.

This is a talented kid.


And when all else fails he has the ability to flat-out outjump any corner he comes across — as seen in the sequence above. Yet another characteristic he shares with Cincinnati Bengals’ superstar Green.

The totality of Dupre’s skill set is not lost on New Orleans Saints’ corner Keenan Lewis.

“He’s special,” Lewis said after a summer workout with Dupre.”He’s a guy I’ve seen out there every day, just steadily working on his craft, and we bonded. He grew on me. He’s going to be a great one.”

So for those using youth as a perceived crutch for why LSU won’t be a major factor this season, it’s time to use a new excuse. While we already know about Fournette’s prognostication, when it’s all said and done we will be speaking of Dupre in the same ilk.

Now that’s scary for the rest of the SEC.