The 2023 college football season is months away, but easily the best Week 1 matchup will feature likely Top 10 teams LSU of the SEC and Florida State of the ACC in the Camping World Kickoff Game on Sept. 3 from Orlando, Fla. No College Football odds yet, but LSU might be without its top returning receiver in Malik Nabers due to suspension.
Top LSU Receiver Could Face Suspension For Season Opener Vs. Florida State
Nabers was arrested on Bourbon Street on Monday in New Orleans on a misdemeanor charge of illegal carrying of a weapon. He was arrested about 7:30 p.m. local time when officers on foot patrol in the French Quarter noticed an “L-shaped object” in his front pants pocket. Nabers was released and not required to post bail. An LSU spokesperson told ESPN that coach Brian Kelly is aware of the incident and that the school is still gathering information. Illegal carrying of a weapon is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $500 and six-month sentence, according to Louisiana law.
Nabers led LSU with 72 receptions and 1,017 receiving yards last season — er who became the first LSU receiver to surpass the 1,000-yard mark since both Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase did in the 2019 season. Nabers caught three touchdown passes and averaged 14.1 yards per catch.
The 6-foot, 195-pounder went over the 100-yard mark in three of LSU’s final four games, including a 163-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 63-7 Citrus Bowl win over Purdue. He finished second in the SEC in receiving yards to Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, who declared for the NFL draft.
Obviously, it’s early to predict a suspension but Kelly would look bad if he doesn’t discipline Nabers in some form. LSU went 10-4 and won the SEC West in 2022, Kelly’s first season as the Tigers’ head coach, and is expected to be even better this year with Nabers and star QB Jayden Daniels among those returning. Daniels, an Arizona State transfer, finished his first season at LSU with the second most yards accounted for in program history with 3,798 total yards of offense (885 rushing, 2913 passing).
Kelly also has added four touted transfers from Power 5 programs: linebacker Omar Speights from Oregon State, cornerback JK Johnson from Ohio State, cornerback Duce Chestnut from Syracuse and edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo from Texas.
Speights comes to LSU after a four-year career with the Beavers, one that saw him rack up 308 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and five sacks. His 308 career tackles rank No. 9 on the Oregon State all-time list. In two years with the Buckeyes, Johnson recorded 22 tackles, including a career-high five in a win over Northwestern in 2022. Johnson was ranked a top 50 player nationally coming out of high school and the consensus No. 1 prep player in Missouri for the Class of 2021.
Chestnut, a Freshman All-American at Syracuse in 2021, joins the Tigers after starting at cornerback for all 24 games of his Syracuse career. He earned third team All-ACC as well as being runner-up for ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Oghoufo played two years at Texas after beginning his career playing for Brian Kelly at Notre Dame. He started 20 games at Texas and was twice named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. In two years with the Longhorns, Oghoufo was credited with 96 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
LSU will open the 2023 season against FSU at Camping World Stadium, the same venue where LSU beat Purdue 63-7 in the Citrus Bowl in which Nabers was named the Offensive MVP. In addition to his nine catches for 163 yards and a score, he completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Daniels in the third quarter.
Florida State and LSU opened last season against one another in New Orleans and the Seminoles won 24-23. Daniels found Jaray Jenkins for a 2-yard touchdown as time in regulation expired, but Florida State blocked the extra point. Daniels completed 26 of 35 passes for 209 yards and two TDs. Nabers had five catches for 42 yards but two muffed punts.
FSU quarterback Jordan Travis accounted for 260 yards through the air with two touchdowns, completing 20-of-33 passes. Travis is back. FSU finished 10-3 last season and on a six-game winning streak.
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