What is Mannie Netherly’s prior experience playing on defense?
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Question of the Day: Wednesday, Feb. 21
This week, it seems everybody has one thing on their minds: LSU wide receiver-turned-defensive back Mannie Netherly.
No. Netherly did not play corner in high school.
But that isn’t stopping LSU from moving Netherly from receiver to cornerback, as LSU secondary coach Corey Raymond revealed in a Monday radio interview with former LSU running back Jacob Hester.
So why do it?
The most obvious answer to that is Netherly’s athleticism. This is a guy who was moved from wide receiver to quarterback in his senior year of high school. All he did was pass for 1,600 yards and rush for 600 in his only season at the position. It’s also worth noting that he did this in Texas, where they tend to take that kind of thing seriously.
With LSU signing four wide receivers in this year’s class, including a pair of 5-stars in Terrace Marshall and Ja’Marr Chase, Netherly was in a logjam to get onto the field in the future. Coupled with Kelvin Joseph being the only cornerback in this year’s class, it was clear LSU needed to move someone to bolster the position. This is especially true since no light has been shed on Kristian Fulton’s availability moving forward.
One of LSU’s incoming receivers, Jaray Jenkins, also played corner in high school and thus seemed like a viable candidate. But Jenkins doesn’t arrive on campus until the summer, and the Tigers need someone who can take reps at corner this spring. The coaching staff obviously felt Netherly was the best candidate despite his lack of experience, which should tell you a lot about what they think of his athletic ability and teachability.
LSU has made this type of thing work in reverse. When Russell Gage came to LSU, he was a cornerback in a loaded defensive backfield. By his senior season, he became a cornerstone of LSU’s offense and special teams. Netherly will have an opportunity to do the same thing as he leaves a now-loaded receiving corps to join the secondary.
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