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Why LSU Receiving Core is Under-Performing

The talent remains. Kayshon Boutte, Malik Nabers, Brian Thomas Jr., Jack Bech, Jaray Jenkins, and Kyren Lacy are all there.

As far as a list of names goes, that’s pretty good — despite the struggles. It can be difficult to pinpoint why an offense is struggling. In the case of LSU, you could find a few reasons.

Everything has been shaky. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been good to find. There’s been a lot of that too, but the lack of consistency has held this team back, especially at the receiver position.

Boutte’s lack of production is beating a dead horse at this point. Halfway through the year, he has just 17 catches for 130 yards. He’s catching less than 60% of his targets and has five drops each year.

There have been times when Jayden Daniels has missed him, but Boutte hasn’t gotten open enough and hasn’t finished enough when given a chance.

Boutte hasn’t produced against man coverage or zone coverage, and his results have been similar in the slot and outside. Plus, he’s being used in the slot at the same rate he was in 2021.

Boutte needs to get going. He doesn’t need to rack up 100 yards per game, but LSU’s offense is much more explosive when he is rolling. The offense has had a severe lack of explosiveness, and Boutte’s lack of production is a part of that.

Nabers has been LSU’s best receiver thus far, becoming Daniels’ favorite target. Daniels repeatedly targeted Nabers in big moments against Mississippi State to help put that game away.

Nabers has been excellent against man coverage, averaging 3.10 yards per route run. He’s still young, and I’d look for him to continue progressing.

Regarding the remaining guys — Thomas, Bech, Jenkins, and Lacy — LSU needs more consistency.

They don’t have to be game-breakers but must deliver in big moments. If Boutte will continue to struggle and Nabers is yet to become an actual, dynamic No. 1 threat, then LSU needs something from the entire room.

Thomas is headed in the right direction, but like Nabers, he’s still young and needs some time before emerging as a top-tier target. Bech, Jenkins, and Lacy are experienced players who have demonstrated competency.

The coaching staff needs to do a better job at putting them in situations to succeed. The passing offense needs to be more than just hoping Boutte, Nabers or Thomas can win in man coverage. Defenses with a strong secondary will have no issue defending that.

This group lacks an identity right now. LSU is going to need them to find one and find it soon.