LSU All-American WR Ja’Marr Chase opts out of 2020 season

With LSU All-American WR Ja’Marr Chase deciding to skip the 2020 campaign, the Tigers only have two offensive starters returning.

Published on Sunday, 8/30/20, at 2:24 p.m. Eastern.

The defending national champions were dealt a crushing blow Sunday when an initial report from CBSSports was confirmed by several other media outlets.

Junior wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will opt out of the 2020 season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Chase is considered by most to be the nation’s premier WR.

He garnered first-team All-American honors as a sophomore in 2019 when he had 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Despite missing one game in LSU’s 15-0 campaign, Chase was tops in the country in both TD catches and receiving yards.

As a freshman in 2018, Chase had 23 catches for 313 yards and three TDs.

LSU saw 14 of its players from last year selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. A 15th player — Thaddeus Moss, the tight end who is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss — wasn’t drafted but went pro early nonetheless. Moss had 47 receptions (and ZERO drops) for 570 yards and four TDs in ’19.

Furthermore, offensive passing guru Joe Brady left to take the Carolina Panthers’ offensive-coordinator gig under new head coach Matt Rhule. Also, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was hired as the new head coach at Baylor University. LSU’s Ed Orgeron has replaced Aranda with Bo Pelini, the former HC at Nebraska who was the Tigers’ DC when they won the national title in 2007 under Les Miles.

LSU originally was returning merely eight starters (three on offense, five on defense). Those numbers are down to two returning starters on offense and four on ‘D.’

The other opt-out in addition to Chase is senior DB Kary Vincent, who finished ’19 with 47 tackles, nine passes broken up, four interceptions and two tackles for loss. Vincent was a preseason fourth-team All-SEC choice in Phil Steele’s magazine.

BetOnline has LSU installed as a 16.5-point home favorite vs. Mississippi St. in its opener on Sept. 26. I’m not sure when the offshore website adjusted its number, but I do know that LSU was -17.5 vs. MSU earlier this week. Mike Leach is 18-6 against the spread with six outright victories in his last 24 games as a double-digit underdog.

With Chase opting out, my count of preseason first-or-second-team All-Americans (per Steele’s mag) that aren’t going to play in 2020 is up to six. The five others are Miami DE Gregory Rousseau, Pitt DT Jaylen Twyman, Penn St. LB Micah Parsons, Purdue WR Rondale Moore and Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman.

In other college football news, Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock is out for the season after tearing his ACL at Wednesday’s practice in Athens. Blaylock tore the ACL in his left knee, the same one he sustained the same injury to in last year’s SEC Championship Game loss to LSU.

As a true freshman in 12 games last year, Blaylock had 18 receptions for 310 yards and five TDs. He also had 128 yards of punt return yards, averaging 9.1 yards per return.

BetOnline has LSU’s season win total at seven (‘over’ -140, ‘under’ +110). Chase had 50/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy.

BetOnline has released some new lines for Sept. 12, including FSU -11.5 vs. Ga. Tech and North Carolina -17.5 vs. Syracuse.

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