LSU coach Ed Orgeron is looking to add a transfer defensive back at a time when uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic could theoretically help the No. 6 Tigers land an established player from another major conference.
“We’re a little short” at cornerback, Orgeron said during a video media conference Tuesday. “We are currently researching if there is a cornerback or maybe a nickel cornerback out there who is available. We may take him and we could use him right now.”
And one might be available due to the pandemic.
NCAA rules allow players who’ve earned undergraduate degrees to transfer and be immediately eligible to play. And because some major conferences – namely the Big Ten and Pac-12 – have postponed fall sports because of COVID-19 concerns, it has led some players in those leagues to jump into the transfer portal and seek out a team that is scheduled to play.
And if a defensive back was on the fence about transferring, Orgeron's candor could help the player make a decision.
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin would like to see the NCAA transfer rule to extend beyond graduates if a player's team has decided not to play this fall. Currently, undergraduates must sit out a season unless they are granted a waiver by the NCAA. At this point, the NCAA has not indicated it would provide blanket waivers for having one's season postponed. Rather, players have been granted an extra year of eligibility whether they play this year or not.
There's little danger of players transferring en masse because major programs can only sign 25 players per year to a scholarship and most of those get used up in recruiting high school players. At this point in the year, there are not a lot of spots available. But some players are on the move.
A Pac-12 defensive lineman, Cal’s Luc Bequette, is in the process of transferring to Boston College, Sports Illustrated has reported.
The Eagles play in the ACC and remain on track to play its fall season.
In addition, Fresno State standout linebacker Justin Rice also transferred after the Mountain West Conference postponed its fall season. He has signed with Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference, which remains on track to play in the fall.
Orgeron’s intention to seek out another defensive back for this season came up Tuesday when he was asked by The Associate Press during a video media conference to summarize cornerback depth in the wake of Kary Vincent Jr.’s decision to opt out of this season and focus instead on preparing for the NFL draft.
Vincent was expected to start along with All-American cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
That has moved cornerbacks, including sophomore Cordale Flott and coveted 2020 recruit Eli Ricks, up the LSU depth chart.
“We’re really pleased with Cordale Flott,” Orgeron said, adding that his staff believes Flott “has solidified himself as a starter, either in the nickel package or the base package.”
As for Ricks, Orgeron said, “You can see him getting better and better,” since coming back from a shoulder injury in the spring.
Orgeron also complimented recent showings by sophomore Jay Ward and freshman Dwight McGlothern.
The Tigers’ pandemic-altered, SEC-only schedule begins Sept. 26.
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