On Saturday, the No. 6 ranked LSU Tigers will open their 2020 football season with a game at home against Mississippi State. Last season, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. emerged as one of the top defensive backs in the entire country and will look to improve upon his sensational true freshman season this year.
Stingley arrived at LSU as the top-rated cornerback in Top247 history. By the time he finished his first Tiger practice as an early enrollee, he’d already picked off Joe Burrow twice. That hype carried over into 2020 when he emerged as the nation’s top overall cornerback. Stingley finished his freshman season as a consensus All-American, picking off an SEC-best five passes. PFF College assigned Stingley a 91.1 coverage grade in 2019, which led all FBS cornerbacks.
On a recent edition of CBS Sports’ All Things Covered podcast, Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson raved about the LSU sophomore.
“Stingley is the real deal,” Peterson said. “I had the opportunity to work out with Stingley last year. … The year while I was suspended. I went to Baton Rogue and worked out a bit with the young boys. He got it. He came in with it. He’s special. You can tell. As a freshman, you don’t see many freshmen stepping onto campus, becoming the man – not out of nowhere because we kind of knew that was going to happen – but the way he handled it, the way he carried himself throughout the process and continued to show up on big stages. He’s made for those moments. You can’t deny that. That’s greatness right there.”
Playing high school football at The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Stingley was a 247Sports Composite five-star recruit and the No. 1 ranked cornerback in the entire recruiting class of 2019. He was also the No. 3 overall ranked recruit nationally.
According to 247Sports’ Charles Power, Stingley is a projected first-round draft pick and was given a pro comparison to the New England Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore.
“Physically advanced with a developed and muscled up build,” Power wrote. “Good height and length for the position. Among the best athletes in the 2019 cycle and has eye-popping combine testing numbers to his credit. A fluid mover with a long stride length. Utterly dominates inferior competition at the high school level both in coverage and as a return man. Shows outstanding downfield anticipatory and tracking skills. High interception total and turns into an offensive player with the ball in his hands.
“Primarily plays in off coverage, so will need to continue honing his press-man technique. Could also continue to improve his level of physicality and take-on strength as a tackler and run defender. Has one of the more advanced and unique corner skill sets in recent recruiting cycles. Projects to make an instant impact at the college level and has the talent to be a three-and-done early round draft pick.”