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Better Know a Freshman: Malik Nabers

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Underrated receiver may prove to be the best of LSU’s freshman class

As Max alluded to in our Deion Smith preview, in this day and age there’s no such thing as having too many receivers. Football is turning into a spread ‘em out and try to get your best athletes to beat theirs by running by them, out-jumping them or in Malik Nabers case running through them.

The Story

Nabers path to LSU was truly a wild one.

Originally it appeared Nabers would leave Louisiana and play for Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. LSU eventually got in the Nabers sweepstakes and offered him a scholarship in September. But Nabers maintained his commitment to Mississippi State (or so we thought) until he flipped on signing day and decided to stay home.

Now a player flipping on signing day isn’t a new thing. What makes Nabers case so unique is he had literally zero senior year film to boost his recruiting profile. Nabers originally played his high school ball at Comeaux High School but decided to transfer to Southside High. But Nabers waiver request to play for Southside was denied and he didn’t play a single snap all last season. Nabers only had three years of work and still finished as a top-10 player in Louisiana and a four-star prospect. Imagine how much higher he could have climbed with a senior season.

The Numbers

247 Composite Ranking: ****

247 Composite Rating: .9071

The Film

Sturdy receiver with enough size to win on the outside. Plays with grit and toughness. Shows outstanding jump ball ability for a prospect without elite height. Good concentration in contested situations. Ambitious and active after the catch. Limited route tree in high school but shows the precise movements and efficiency to be a very good route-runner on the next level. Runs hard off the ball and has a clean release against press coverage. Ultra competitive prospect. Good hands. Productive. Plays cornerback and has the traits to be an elite defensive back if he wanted to be. Athleticism is good not great. Isn’t tested against high school competition. Understated prospect that we think will maximize his ability be an impact Power Five starter on either side of the football and be a mid-round NFL Draft pick.

Analysis courtesy of 247’s Barton Simmons

That’s all well and good. The 247 guys are the best in the biz at scouting and we rely on them for all things recruiting. That said all I need to see of Malik Nabers is in this four-second long clip.

God yes. Give me 85 Malik Nabers and LSU will win every national championship from here till the end of time.

High End: Eventually ascends to be LSU’s go-to target out wide and an All-Conference selection.

Low End: Frequently on the field but never the first, second, or third option for Max Johnson/Myles Brenna/Garrett Nussmeier/Walker Howard. Still gets a shot at the NFL and is picked on Day 3 of whatever draft he enters.

Realistic: I’m going to be really hyperbolic here. Y’all I’m all the way in on Nabers. I think LSU has themselves a mix of Jarvis Landry’s physicality and Justin Jefferson’s recruiting snub. I fully expect Nabers to have his own Landry 2011 Auburn hit on someone. The Jefferson analogy isn’t quite the best one, remember Jefferson was a two-star because many thought he wouldn’t qualify academically, and Nabers was still a four-star even without a senior year. But I think that year away has only fueled his fire and he’ll be a great one at LSU.