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Greatest LSU Athletes of the Decade #35: Odell Beckham, Jr

With an assist from Jarvis Landry

LSU v Georgia
Great in the open field, too
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

For a team that never seems to throw the ball, LSU sure has churned out a lot of great wide receivers. But due to LSU’s steadfast refusal to throw the ball at a decent clip in the teens, only two receivers from the decade rank in the top ten of LSU career yardage leaders.

One of them played on the absurd offensive explosion of the 2019 Joe Brady offense (Justin Jefferson). The other was Odell Beckham, Jr.

Odell Beckham is arguably one of the most famous football players on the planet, as his visibility goes far beyond merely playing the game. Beckham is a fashion icon and has not only gotten himself invited to the Met Gala, but went viral for his outfit.

He is also the author of one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, one that will simply go down as The Catch, with apologies to Dwight Clark and Joe Montana.

Odell Beckham is more than a football player. He is a timeless icon. He is going to be remembered for as long as they play football, as much for getting in a verbal fight with Lena Dunham as for catching footballs.

But before all of this happened, he was ours. And he was just a football player. An absurdly gifted football player, but that doesn’t make you special in Baton Rouge.

The first thing Beckham had to do when he got to campus was to escape the shadow of his father, a bruising fullback who played in the Dark Ages yet blossomed into a cult figure due to his hard-nosed style and his ferocious blocks. Beckham’s block in 1990 against A&M is still fabled as one of the greatest in Tiger Stadium history. Yes, this is a transparent attempt to link to it.

His mom was no slouch either, as she was an All-American for the LSU track team. Odell was born to play for LSU.

Beckham, Jr. would waste no time in establishing his own legacy. He earned All-Freshman honors as a starter on the 2011 team which came one game short of winning the national title. He would eventually win the Paul Hornung Award in 2013 for the nation’s most versatile player, en route to earning 1st team All-American honors as an All-Purpose Player. He ranks fifth in LSU history in All-Purpose yards.

His 2315 all-purpose yards in 2013 set a school record and ranked 2nd all-time in SEC history for a single season. He was a threat to go the distance nearly every time he touched the football, scoring nearly every way a player can, including returning a missed field goal the distance.

He made highlight reel catches and will forever be linked in LSU lore with his teammate, Jarvis Landry. In 2013, they became the first teammates in LSU history to each gain 1000 yards receiving. The 2013 Tigers were the first team in SEC history to feature a 1000 yard runner (Hill), a 3000 yard passer (Mettenberger), and two 1000 yard receivers (ODB and Landry).

Beckham finished the year with 59 catches for 1152 yards and 8 TD while Landry had 77 catches for 1193 yards and 10 TD. Both made a personal reel full of highlight catches which boggle the imagination. Seriously, here’s a sampling.

They were an absurd joy to watch. And that is Beckham and Landry’s legacy. The 2013 team didn’t win. It was the only Les Miles team which could move the ball quickly and score at will, and it was the one time the team didn’t have a great defense. Such is life.

But they were a joy to watch. Football is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. No one is more fun than Odell Beckham, Jr.