LSU coach Ed Orgeron confirmed senior starting defensive end Neil Farrell Jr. is opting back in to play the 2020 season.
“Neil is part of our family, a great young man,” said Orgeron during his weekly Tuesday morning appearance on the “Off The Bench” radio show in Baton Rouge. “He had made a family decision to go home, which we honored. Then, he felt everything was taken care of at home. We welcomed him back.”
On Aug. 8 Farrell was the first of four Tigers to opt out. He said at the time it was because his grandmother was sick from coronavirus and added he would return to LSU next year. Orgeron said at the time “I told him, `Neil, go home, come back next year, come back in great shape and have a good senior year.”
But the 6-4, 320-pound Farrell tweeted on Sept. 10 that “ My grandmother Is getting better each and every day & I thank God for that. . .I miss football.” Then on Monday, he hinted at hus return by tweeting “ready to get to work. . .#pointtoprove #UnfinishedBusiness #realspillinthebackfield.”
Last season, Farrell’s run stop percentage of 12.4 percent (24 of 194) ranked first among Power 5 defensive linemen. It also easily led all SEC DL with Auburn’s Derrick Brown, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, second in the league at 9.7 percent.
It has yet to be determined how long it will take Farrell to return to football shape after missing all of preseason camp. But the Tigers will welcome back his experience.
“Obviously, he needs some work to get in a little better shape than he is right now,” Orgeron said. “But he can add depth to our interior defensive line.”
Last season as a junior in 2019, Farrell recorded 46 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and three sacks. For his career, he has started four times and played in 30 games and has made 74 career tackles with 11 tackles for loss and three sacks.
LSU opens the 10-game season on Sept. 26 at home against Mississippi State.