Ranking the 10 best freshmen over the past 5 seasons

LSU has the No. 3-ranked recruiting class for 2021.

The Tigers have 23 newcomers looking to have an impact right away next Fall.

They’re hoping top recruits such as Maason Smith, Sage Ryan, Chris Hilton, Garrett Dellinger and Landon Jackson can make a difference as true freshmen just as other recent recruits made an impact in their first season on campus.

Here are LSU’s 10 best freshmen over the past 5 seasons:

10. WR Ja’Marr Chase (2018)

Chase is likely to be the first wide receiver selected in the NFL Draft at the end of the month. He won the Biletnikoff Award during the Tigers’ championship run in 2019 before sitting out last season to get ready for the draft.

As a true freshman in 2018, he didn’t show that he was on the brink of having such an impact, but he did come on late and show glimpses of why he was such a highly touted recruit.

Chase started the last five games and finished the season with 23 receptions for an average of 13.6 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. He had season-highs of 6 catches and 91 yards in addition to scoring a touchdown in a Fiesta Bowl win over UCF.

9. CB Eli Ricks (2020)

LSU’s defense struggled last season and Ricks had some ups and downs as most freshmen starting at cornerback will. But he also showed a knack for big plays, making 4 interceptions and returning 2 for touchdowns. He also made 20 tackles.

8. TE Arik Gilbert (2020)

Gilbert arrived on campus as the most highly-regarded tight end prospect in LSU history. Things didn’t work out as well as planned and Gilbert left the team before the season ended. He entered the transfer portal and hasn’t settled on a new home yet.

But while he played for the Tigers, he had a significant season as a true freshman, catching 35 passes for an average of 10.5 yards with 2 touchdowns.

7. OLB K’Lavon Chaisson (2017)

Chaisson started the season against BYU and made two other starts in the 12 games in which he played. He was a disruptive defender right away, finishing with 27 tackles, 2 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 break-ups and 2 QB hits.

6. S Grant Delpit (2017)

Delpit became a leader in the secondary as a true freshman. He played in all 13 games, finished 4th on the team with 60 tackles, had 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception and 9 passes defended

5. LB Devin White (2016)

White demonstrated the ability that would make him the most prolific tackler in LSU history. As a true freshman, he had 30 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.

4. OL Saahdiq Charles (2016)

Charles played in all 13 games and made a total of 9 starts at 3 spots on a very productive offensive line.

3. WR Kayshon Boutte (2020)

Boutte came on strong at the end of last season and finished with 45 catches for an average of 16.3 yards and 5 touchdowns. In the season-ending 53-48 victory against Ole Miss, he set an SEC single-game record with 308 receiving yards and caught 3 touchdown passes.

2. OL Ed Ingram (2016)

Ingram had an even better true freshman season than Charles had, playing in 13 games and starting the last 12 as a key member of a unit that led the way for a 1,000-yard rushing season for Derrius Guice.

1. CB Derek Stingley Jr. (2019)

Stingley became the most decorated freshman in LSU history as he made 6 interceptions, broke up 15 passes, made 38 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 fumble recovery. He averaged nearly 10 yards on 17 punt returns.