Bayou Bengal Briefing: Is LSU finally done shuffling JaCoby Stevens?

LSU football is in the news every day, and  the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

The 5-star shuffle

Not even half a season into his first collegiate campaign, former 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens has had quite a journey. The nation’s top safety for the Class of 2017 went from a touted early enrollee defensive back in the spring to a slot receiving option in fall camp to an undersized H-back in midseason.

Now, it seems like Stevens is right back where he started.

Stevens practiced with the defensive backs Monday, potentially ending his two-month flirtation with offense. The move makes sense. When Stevens moved, LSU was deeper at safety than it was anywhere, with John Battle, Ed Paris, Grant Delpit, Eric Monroe, Xavier Lewis and Todd Harris all competing for playing time. But now Paris is out for the season, Battle is banged up and Lewis missed practice Monday, along with moving to nickelback.

As talented as Stevens is, he’s not former Michigan standout Jabrill Peppers. He’s not the kind of player LSU can play at every position and he’ll be fine. He needs to find a position and stick with it. In all likelihood, safety is his best bet. Maybe that’s where he should stay. But if receiver is his end game, keep him there.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you choose to put him. Just make a decision and stick with it. For his development and for the team’s sake, it’s the right decision.

Speaking of DB depth

LSU lost a commitment from 4-star Baton Rouge cornerback Kelvin Joseph on Monday. Joseph was LSU’s highest-rated commit according to 247 Sports, where he ranks as the No. 8 cornerback in America and the third-best prospect in Louisiana.

Without Joseph in tow, LSU’s class dropped to No. 15 in the nation and fifth in the SEC behind No. 6 Tennessee, No. 7 Florida, No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 13 Georgia. For what it’s worth, Alabama ranks No. 23 in the nation, eighth in the SEC.

It’s still early in the recruiting cycle. Plenty of 5-star prospects are still on the board and a handful are connected to LSU. But you have to be nervous about how recruits will react if the Tigers keep losing games like this. One bad season can tank a team’s recruiting prospects quickly. And as fans have learned this season, one bad recruiting class can hurt a team’s depth for years.

If there’s one thing coach Ed Orgeron knows how to do, it’s recruit. Once the season is over and the coaches can become full-time salesmen, things will pick up. But, right now, things look bleak.

Ending the experiment

Orgeron signaled an end to LSU’s quarterbacks experiment Monday. Now that SEC play is upon the Tigers, Orgeron said Danny Etling will be the Tigers’ quarterback for four quarters a game, signaling an end to the Etling-Myles Brennan rotation the team has shown off the last two weeks.

Don’t see this as a knock against Brennan. Orgeron was plenty complimentary about the freshman’s play. But Etling is the better quarterback right now. And with the way the Tigers have lost recently, the team needs a steadying figure under center, not a freshman easing into his first SEC action.

The controversy isn’t going anywhere. Fans will still call for Brennan any shot they get but rest assured knowing the coaches are making the right decision this time.

Reading the coverage

Monday was a busy day for prognosticators calling out LSU. Here’s a sample of some of the criticism the Tigers received:

Watch me, watch me

Fellow SEC Country LSU reporter Alex Hickey and I talked to fans for an hour Monday on Facebook Live about the state of the team. Watch the video below for analysis, jokes and me drawing fake football plays on the spot.

In hoopy hoop news

For the first time this preseason, the media will meet with a handful of LSU basketball players Tuesday. So, expect a couple of stories throughout the week previewing the 2017-18 Tigers basketball season.

That said, there’s slightly more serious LSU basketball news, potentially. ESPN reporters Jeff Goodman and Mark Schlabach mentioned the name of  former Tigers forward Jarell Martin in the latest rounds of FBI investigation reports. Martin, who played with LSU from 2013-15, was allegedly linked to Christian Dawkins, one of the men arrested by the FBI last week.

None of the coaches who were at LSU while Martin was on the team are still in Baton Rouge, so it’ll be hard to punish LSU if anything comes of this. But it is worth following, as this is a major story about the future of amateurism and college athletics.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at, Oct. 3 is “ National Boyfriend Day.” So, if you are a boyfriend or have a boyfriend, today is a day worth celebrating.

I am in neither category, so once again, we’ve found a holiday I can’t celebrate. So, if anyone wants to invite me to their National Boyfriend Day celebrations tonight, I’ll show up. I have nothing better going on. Invite me to your parties. I’m good company.

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