In the least surprising news possible, corner back Derek Stingley Jr. announced in a piece he wrote on The Player’s Tribune he would forego his remaining eligibility and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
Stingley came to LSU as a can’t miss prospect and delivered on the hype...mostly. Stingley was the best defensive back in the country during the 2019 football season with six interceptions and an additional 20 passes defended which earned him consensus All-American honors that season.
Unfortunately, Stingley was never quite able to build upon the success he had as a freshman. He had a variety of injuries throughout his sophomore and junior campaigns—though he was named first-team All-American by the AFCA in 2020—and only appeared in 10 games throughout the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Stingley is a lock to go in the first round of April’s draft and has been consistently projected to go as high as fourth overall to the New York Jets. Should that happen, it will be the fourth consecutive draft where a former Tiger gets picked inside the top five (Devin White in 2019, Joe Burrow in 2020, and Ja’Marr Chase in 2021) and fifth in six years (Leonard Fournette in 2017).
Stingley isn’t the only Tiger with remaining eligibility to declare for the 2022 Draft. Guard Chasen Hines, corner Cordale Flott, and punter/kickoff specialist Avery Atkins all announced they would be turning pro. Cameron Lewis also announced he’d enter the draft but Lewis, a sixth-year senior, had exhausted all of his eligibility.
LSU is dangerously thin at corner heading into the 2022 season with Stingley and Flott going pro and Elias Ricks transferring to Alabama. With only one corner committed to LSU, this will be a position Brian Kelly and staff will need to supplement either through recruiting or the transfer portal.