After losing star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin to opt outs in the past 48 hours, LSU coach Ed Orgeron on Tuesday said there are still a couple of other players who are considering whether to play this season.
“There are one or two I know are thinking about it,” Orgeron said. “Hopefully they don’t. But again, if they do, that’s what we’ll live with. But we have depth, and if they do opt out, we’re still going to have a great football team.”
The Tigers return only five of 22 starters from last season’s championship team.
Orgeron said both Shelvin and Chase, who are projected as possible NFL first-round draft picks, had “legitimate reasons” for leaving and that the decision was difficult for both of them.
“Guys are going to opt out for different reasons,” Oregeron said. “That’s the time we’re living in.”
Orgeron admitted he didn’t want Shelvin to go, but he respected the decision. He said he told the 346-pound lineman to stay in shape and “go have a heck of an NFL career.”
During the videoconference with reporters, Orgeron also addressed reports that the offensive line was hit especially hard by COVID-19 testing last week. He declined to say exactly how many players missed practice, however.
“There are a couple of guys who get positive, maybe more, but there are some guys who are going to be around them and have to get quarantined just like we did,” Oregeron said. “But it’s good that it happened now and not in the middle of the season.
“It may come up with another unit,” Orgeron added. “We just have to deal with it.”
LSU is scheduled to open the season Sept. 26 at home against Mississippi State.