Gone, but clearly not forgotten.

Whatever fans might have thought about LSU star receiver Ja’Marr Chase opting out of the 2020 college football season, NFL evaluators clearly couldn’t have cared less.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Chase with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night. He made school history in the process: LSU has produced several first-round picks at wide receiver, but nobody was selected earlier than Chase.

He set the bar without catching a ball in 2020 because his 2019 tape didn’t lie.

He won the Biletnikoff Award and set SEC records for TD catches (20) and yards (1,780) in a season, helping LSU to a perfect season. It mattered little that Alabama’s DeVonta Smith broke both records a year later.

The Bengals passed on the chance to draft an offensive lineman to protect Joe Burrow after the QB suffered an ACL injury last season that ended his season.