BATON ROUGE, La. — There are six football early enrollees at LSU this spring. And it just so happens that one-third of the players who elected to forgo prom for a semester jump on college are in the back end of the Tigers secondary.
Safeties JaCoby Stevens, a 5-star recruit, and Grant Delpit, a 4-star in the 247Sports composite rankings, are trying to help the Tigers face the unenviable task of replacing Jamal Adams. Adams is projected to be the first safety taken in the 2017 NFL Draft and could well be the highest-drafted safety of his generation, if not of all time.
That’s a heck of a lot to ask of two freshmen. And that’s why LSU isn’t forcing Stevens and Delpit to replace Adams right away. Seniors John Battle and Ed Paris are atop the depth chart this spring, showing the rookies the ropes.
By Tigers coach Ed Orgeron’s account, it sounds like the learning process is going quite well.
Orgeron describes Stevens and Delpit as “athletes. Very smart. Very good students of the game. They’re big, strong; they’re physical. They don’t mind putting their nose in there.”
Stevens is a 6-foot-2, 214-pound native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., whose parents are from Crowley, La. He was the No. 2-ranked safety in the 2017 recruiting class.
Delpit, the No. 9 prospect at the position, attended IMG Academy in Florida. Like so many others, his family settled in the Houston area after being uprooted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At 6-foot-3 and 191 pounds, he is taller but lighter than Stevens.
“He’s a very good athlete. Very good tackler. Tackling in space,” Orgeron said of Delpit. “He has a very good understanding of the defense, and so does JaCoby Stevens. Those are two outstanding young freshmen.”
Delpit and Stevens are taking snaps with the No. 2 defense, which in itself is a sign of progress. The players they are battling on the depth chart, Cameron Lewis and Eric Monroe, redshirted last season.
When LSU takes the field for its spring game on April 22, there will be plenty of unproven players who fans will want to examine. And the two most intriguing might be Stevens and Delpit, safeties who were in high school the last time the Tigers played a game.