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5-star safety JaCoby Stevens will move to wide receiver this fall, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Monday

Bayou Bengal Briefing: 3 things JaCoby Stevens’ position change means for LSU

Nick Suss

Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football with beat writer Nick Suss. Today we discuss major position change news, recap our Monday poll, criticize the NFL and more. Enjoy!

News comes at you fast

Monday was the first day of fall camp for the LSU football team, and LSU coach Ed Orgeron dropped a bombshell afterward, announcing that former 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens will play his freshman season as a wide receiver.

Stevens was the No. 1 safety in the country for the class of 2017 and LSU’s only 5-star signee, but the move isn’t entirely out of left field. Early in his recruiting process, Stevens was listed as an athlete and played wide receiver throughout high school.

Here are three things this move could mean for LSU:

1. Grant Delpit and Todd Harris are the real deal: Stevens came to LSU with two other freshman safeties, 4-stars Grant Delpit and Todd Harris. Given that Stevens is the most versatile option of the three, this is probably more of a compliment to Delpit and Harris than a slight to Stevens. This might be the only way to get all three players early playing time.
2. Ed Orgeron and Matt Canada want a lot of wideouts: At his news conference Monday, Orgeron said that he wants to have as many as eight wide receivers ready to play every game. Since LSU is only returning one wide receiver who caught more than 10 passes last season, this is a move to bolster depth at a position where LSU is admittedly thin.
3. LSU is assuring its future in the slot:  While LSU is inexperienced at wide receiver, it is talented. Still, the young talent in the receiver room all profiles on the outside. Drake Davis, Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan and Racey McMath all fit best as sideline options, leaving only sophomore Derrick Dillon and ineligible transfer Jonathan Giles as slot options without Stevens. If anything, Stevens is moving to the slot to give the team a player to rely on in 2018 and 2019.

Your weekly LSU football poll recap

In the Bayou Bengal Briefing Monday, I asked you to vote on which fall camp storyline you were most interested in learning about. Here are your answers.

lsu football

In a landslide, Matt Canada’s offensive installation won the poll, with two-thirds of the votes. That was followed not-so-closely by Dave Aranda replacing starters on defense in second place and the LSU quarterback competition in third place.

I find it interesting that so many people have lost interest in the quarterback competition. I mean, I’ve always thought it was a one-sided battle that felt kind of forced. But I would’ve thought the arrival of Myles Brennan for camp would’ve rekindled some interest.

But nope. It’s all about the big picture for you guys. And I appreciate that and hear you loud and clear. Let’s talk about Matt Canada.

Talking about Matt Canada

SEC Country’s senior film analyst Oliver Connolly broke down one of the most devastating plays in Matt Canada’s offense Monday, taking an in-depth look at the shovel pass and how he uses it to his advantage. It’s a must-read.

Connolly goes into deep detail explaining how this play helped Canada’s Pitt squad tear through the Clemson defense, and how it might translate at LSU. And, if you’re interested in reading from a non-senior tape analyst, I wrote a breakdown of the same play seven months ago.

Practice notes

The JaCoby Stevens news wasn’t the only thing to come out of Orgeron’s post-practice news conference. Here are three others pieces of news that you might find interesting:

  1. Arden Key walked through a handful of drills one-on-one with Orgeron, but he didn’t participate in any team activities. That’s an encouraging sign for a guy who’s not even supposed to practice for two weeks.
  2. The quarterbacks split the reps pretty evenly, but Orgeron came away impressed with Etling and Brennan. Coach O said Etling looks as healthy as he ever has after his offseason back surgery and described Brennan as “as expected.” The only freshman mistake Orgeron recalls Brennan making was one play where he ran the wrong direction, but Brennan never threw an interception.
  3. Offensive tackle Maea Teuhema is not practicing at the moment as he’s trying to work out some grade issues. He will be away from the team indefinitely, leaving a couple of holes on the offensive line. For now, Donavaughn Campbell and Lloyd Cushenberry will be working at right guard.

Legal news

The simple burglary charges against LSU offensive tackle Adrian Magee were dismissed Monday, clearing up his slate to return to practice without that issue clearing over his head. In the spring, Magee was accused of stealing from a dorm room, but per the report, the accuser asked that Magee’s charges be dismissed.

Beyond that, backup running back and second-most-famous brother Lanard Fournette entered pre-trial diversion related to his fake ID charges from May. Fournette was caught gambling with a fake ID, but will go to pre-trial to avoid court. If Fournette completes the program, the charges will likely be dropped.

NFLSU is getting weird, y’all

Brace yourselves: I’m about to say the first negative thing I’ve ever said about Jamal Adams.

Former LSU safety and New York Jets first-round pick Jamal Adams spoke at an NFL fan forum Monday alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. In a Q&A session, Adams was asked about CTE, the chronic brain injury found in deceased NFL players’ brains and connected to concussions and repeated brain trauma. Adams answered the question by saying that the football field would be the perfect place to die.

A few hours later, Adams’ teammate and fellow Tiger alum Morris Claiborne said a very similar thing, expressing his willingness to die on the field. I shouldn’t have to say this, but guys, dying is bad. Like, the worst. Don’t say things like this.

I love football. It’s pretty obvious that I do given my vocation of choice. But hearing guys say things like this makes me sick. I grew up playing and watching and dreaming about football every day. But being willing to die for this game? That’s crazy talk.

Life is so much more than football. And here’s to those two coming around and believing that.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, today is “National Girlfriends Day.” It’s supposed to be a day that we celebrate females being friends with other females for the sake of friendship and unity and all that good stuff.

But I want to use it as an excuse to watch a really bad music video set to a really catchy Avril Lavigne song. You’re welcome.

Goodness gracious. That video has almost 400 million views. Wow. Long live the aughts.

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns right here.