ATLANTA (WAFB) - Without a doubt, this week is the biggest challenge of the season for LSU freshman Derek Stingley: Ceedee Lamb of Oklahoma, one of the nation’s best wide receivers.
The irony in that Lamb says Stingley is actually his biggest challenge of the season.
So, something has to give there, the difference between the two players: Lamb a junior, Stingley is just 18.
For a preseason all-American, the south’s top recruit, and Louisiana’s Mr. Football, Derek Stingley’s success shouldn’t be surprising.
And yet nearly every week that he’s been on campus, he’s managed to do something jaw-dropping.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh! Stingley for a pick!,’ and I’m like, ‘Another one?’ My gosh. He’s only a freshman,’” LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. said.
It’s not new praise for the Dunham prospect, who spent his senior year catching passes instead of intercepting them because other teams refused to throw anywhere near him.
But you won’t hear Derek say anything like that…or much of anything at all.
“I just kind of walk around and do what I have to do and I just observe people,” LSU cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. told WAFB.
“He just lets his play do the talking,” Marshall said.
And that kind of talking started early, Stingley’s father and grandfather both played professional football, so expectations around Baton Rouge have always been high.
He says the appeal of making a hometown crowd proud… kept him here.
“If I was to make a play and happen to look in the stands and see a friend who I went to high school with or hung out with, that’d just be cool,” Stingley, Jr. said.
And he’s had plenty of opportunities to do it…
“I didn’t think this season would ever be like this. I figured I would have to go through more troubles,” Stingley, Jr. said.
But that’s what makes this matchup interesting.
“I love competition. I’m sure he does too,” Oklahoma wide receiver Ceedee Lamb said.
Because, at least for other DBs, Oklahoma’s Ceedee Lamb has been trouble incarnate.
Yet, there’s mutual respect here.
“He’s a freshman with a senior mindset...Seeing him on film, it’s just like wow – there’s no way he’s a freshman,” Lamb said.
“CeeDee Lamb – he’s pretty much the total package. But it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” Stingley, Jr. said.
And it’s that confidence rooted in preparation that sets this freshman apart.
A mentality that his counterpart at the other corner says he feeds on.
“I would think he’s 21 or something like that with how he handles adversity and how humble he is,” LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton told WAFB.
And the scary thing? Derek says he’s not done.
“I’m not playing my best. I could be playing better,” Stingley, Jr. said.
Stingley tells WAFB his goal for the week: get a pick 6. Because it’s basically the only thing he hasn’t done all season.
Kickoff for the CFP Semifinal at Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta featuring LSU against Oklahoma is set for Saturday, Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. (Central).
The game will be shown on ESPN.
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