Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU wide receiver DJ Chark has the potential to be LSU's best wide receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

DJ Chark will go down as the best LSU receiver since Beckham, Landry

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

Wide receiver Wednesday

After emerging as a talented slot receiving option in 2016, senior wide receiver DJ Chark has blossomed into potentially the best multi-purpose wide receiver in the SEC in 2017. His 535 receiving yards are the second most in the conference, his 188 punt return yards are the most in the conference and his 24.32 yards per reception are the sixth most in college football. Only three qualified college football players are averaging more yards per touch (rush, reception or return) than Chark’s 19.1.

Let’s put Chark’s success in perspective. Chark is averaging 76.4 receiving yards per game. That’s a pace for 917 receiving yards at season’s end. No LSU receiver has reached even 800 yards in a season since Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry both broke 1,000 receiving yards in 2013. This isn’t even mentioning Chark’s success as a punt returner or his 9 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.

This isn’t to downplay Malachi Dupre or Travin Dural’s ability. Chark is just at another level right now. He hasn’t caught a touchdown pass yet this season, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. argued he could be the best senior wide receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Not since Beckham and Landry has LSU had a wide receiver this dominant, this capable of stretching the field horizontally and vertically. Were the season to end today, Chark would be a virtual lock for the conference’s all-purpose player of the year.

It’s easy to overlook Chark on a team with players such as Derrius Guice, Rashard Lawrence, Arden Key and Devin White. But this season, he’s played as well as any of those guys. If not better.

Speaking of Devin White

White was named the Chuck Bednarik Award National Player of the Week on Tuesday for his career-high showing versus Auburn. The sophomore linebacker finished with 15 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs and a quarterback hurry. It was White’s fifth straight game with double-digit tackles, pushing him to 77 on the season. Those 77 tackles lead the SEC and rank third in the FBS.

The Bednarik Player of the Week Award is given to the best defensive player in the nation for a given week, as determined by the Maxwell Football Club National Selection Committee. A Bednarik Award is also given at the end of the season to the best defender in the country. Former LSU stars Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu both won the award, as did future NFL standouts such as Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.

A different kind of player of the week

Donte Jackson was one of the two best cornerbacks in the nation last week, according to the folks at Pro Football Focus College.

With his grade of a 93.1, Jackson made PFF’s Team of the Week for defenders, one of two SEC players to do so. Teammates Chark (85.7) and safety Eric Monroe (88.8) also landed on the SEC Team of the Week.

In LSU baseball news

LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri was named the coach for the Team USA 2018 Collegiate National Team on Tuesday. Mainieri worked as an assistant on the team in 2015 and takes over the squad after its most successful year of international competition ever.

Mainieri has won 71.6 percent of his games in 12 seasons at LSU, leading the Tigers to 6 SEC Tournament titles, 4 SEC regular-season crowns, 5 Super Regional titles and 1 national championship victory in 2009. Last season, Mainieri led LSU to national runner-up, losing in the College World Series final to rival Florida. Mainieri’s 2017 LSU squad won the SEC regular-season and postseason championships.

Since taking over as LSU’s coach, Mainieri has sent five Tigers to play for the Team USA Collegiate National Team: Micah Gibbs, Mikie Mahtook, Kevin Gausman, Alex Bregman and Alex Lange. Gibbs currently works as LSU’s hitting  coach, while the other four are playing professional baseball.

Checking in with the recruits

SEC Country’s LSU recruiting guru Sam Spiegelman posted his monthly mock signing class for LSU recruiting over the last two days. If you missed those, you can click here for his offensive picks and here for his defensive picks.

Not to spoil too much of the surprise, but here’s a position-by-position numbers breakdown of the commitments Sam expects LSU to get:

  • Quarterback: 1
  • Running back: 3
  • Wide receiver: 4
  • Tight end: 2
  • Offensive line: 3
  • Defensive line: 9
  • Linebacker: 2
  • Defensive back: 3
  • Athlete: 1

Today in made-up holidays

Oct. 18 is not a day to celebrate.

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Oct. 18 is “National No Beard Day.” Which, as a proud beard-having American, I take an affront to. Why would anyone celebrate not having a beard when having a beard is so great? I admit, there have been times in my adult life when I’ve been clean-shaven. But never for too long. It’s not natural. Hair grows there for a reason. I say let it grow.

If you agree that beards are great, I suggest you go to this YouTube page and support my favorite online creator, “WheezyWaiter.” You won’t be let down. It’s beardtastic.

Take that, dumb made-up holiday.

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