BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)LSU starting cornerback Eli Ricks has decided to have season-ending surgery to repair an injury that has nagged him for much of the season, coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday.
The injury leaves LSU without its top two cornerbacks, with former All-America defensive back Derrick Stingley also sidelined indefinitely.
”He kept on playing with it, and it kept on recurring. So he and his family decided they were going to get operated on.”
The injury comes shortly after the Tigers, who host No. 20 Florida on Saturday, learned that they also would have to play the rest of their 2021 campaign without a top offensive player, receiver Kayshon Boutte, who had a season-ending ankle injury at Kentucky last weekend.
”It does make it tough,” Orgeron conceded on a weekly Southeastern Conference-hosted conference call with the league’s coaches on Wednesday. ”Somebody’s got to rise up to the occasion. We’ve lost several players, especially starters on defense. We’ve got some young guys that have to step up.”
Without Ricks, who had one interception this season, LSU plans to move Cordale Flott to cornerback and freshman Sage Ryan to the nickel slot in five- or six- defensive back formations, Orgeron said.
After winning its SEC opener at Mississippi State to improve to 3-1 overall, LSU has lost two straight conference games to Auburn and the Wildcats.
The next four games for the Tigers (3-3, 1-2 SEC) are all against conference foes ranked in the Top 25. Following their matchup in Baton Rouge with the Gators this weekend, LSU visits No. 13 Mississippi on Oct. 23 and No. 5 Alabama on Nov. 6 before hosting 17th-ranked Arkansas on Nov. 13.
The tough stretch comes at a time of increasing scrutiny for Orgeron, who has presided over an 8-8 record since his 2019 squad won the national championship with a 15-0 record.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25