LSU defensive coordinator Matt House has work to do

Three major pieces from the initial 2021 high school are gone and now the new defensive coordinator will have work to do. It all started with a sophomore cornerback and a former five-star rookie.

Eli Ricks, transfer portal

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At the start of the season, many were discussing LSU high school as having the best brace in all of college football. Both Ricks and Derek Stingley Jr were former five-star rookies and led the team in interceptions as freshmen. The 2020 defense was abysmal at historic levels, but Ricks was a silver lining.

He ended his freshman campaign with four interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, five defended assists to go along with 20 tackles in eight games. Ricks was seen as the next big cornerback, just behind teammate Stingley.

However, his 2021 season was cut short due to a shoulder injury he tried to fight. After the season looked lost even at 3-2 in the games he played, Ricks stopped him after the Kentucky game and opted for surgery to repair a torn labrum. On November 23, he entered the transfer portal and enlisted in Alabama on December 15.

A top cornerback was missing from the team. Then we had Stingley Jr.

Derek Stingley Jr, NFL Draft

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After his freshman campaign that ended in a CFP national championship, we knew who Derek Stingley Jr. was. He was a ball-peddling cornerback who had the potential of a two-way threat. However, his second campaign left a lot to be desired. After leading the team in 2019, Stingley Jr struggled the following season and played a bit injured.

His number of defended passes has increased from 15 (2019) to five (2020). He failed to intercept a single pass but forced and recovered a fumble. The 10-game season was cut short for Stingley as he only played seven games that year. The 2021 campaign was set to be the return of the former Stingley and he would wear the No.7 jersey.

It was not a lucky number for the former No.1 cornerback of the 2019 class. After suffering injuries in fall camp, he only played three games as a junior. He would record eight tackles, 3.5 TFL and a forced fumble before closing it.

As he heads into the NFL Draft, LSU is trying to find a way to replace the two starting cornerbacks. One of the guys who stepped up in their absence is also stepping out of the limelight.

Another CB is heading towards the project.

Cordale Flott, NFL Draft

AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

Flott has been tasked with entering a starting role this season with the losses to Ricks and Stingley. He would play in 29 games over three seasons, with a career high of 11 games in 2021. Cordale Flott has played a major role as a cornerback on defense.

Last season, Flott totaled 40 tackles with one tackle for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble and three defended. In 2020, Flott racked up 43 tackles to set a career-high. However, at the end of the season he was not available for defense. They would have to rely on guys who haven’t proven themselves because even Dwight McGlothern wouldn’t play in the bowl game.

And now?

It remains to be seen if McGlothern will return to the squad in 2022. They also have a young cornerback at Sage Ryan who will need to step up and a new four-star student with Laterrance Welch. They also added Ryan’s high school teammate Jordan Allen in the 2022 class.

Brian Kelly’s staff may need to take a cornerback or two at the transfer portal with plenty of options available.

Maria D. Ervin