The No. 7 jersey has become something of legend at LSU over the last decade.
Sure, some bonafide Tiger legends throughout the program’s history have worn the jersey that now signifies throughout the program’s most electric player. One such example is former quarterback Bert Jones.
But only in the last decade or so has the No. 7 jersey has taken on the lore it now maintains. LSU stars like Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Leonard Fournette have helped cement that lore, so much so that wide receiver Jonathan Giles felt the need to switch jersey numbers midway through last season after seemingly feeling he hadn’t lived up to the high standards held for the jersey.
This season, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron went with a more surefire pick in junior safety Grant Delpit, who is coming off a historic sophomore season in which he joined an elite and exclusive group of LSU players to earn consensus All-American honors.
“It’s really just another number for me,” Delpit said. “I have to do the same thing on the field. I have big shoes to fill, so I have to represent it well.”
Delpit had a breakout season in 2018, tallying 74 tackles, including five sacks, five interceptions and nine passes defended.
Along with becoming a consensus first-team All-American, he also earned first-team spots on both he Associated Press and the Coaches All-SEC teams, and he was a finalist for the 2018 Nagurski Award for the nation’s best defensive player.
Orgeron sure seemingly feels more confident in his choice for the highly-touted jersey in his second year as head coach after the Giles mishap.
He didn’t mince words in his first media availability during spring practice.
“It’s a better choice than I made last season,” Orgeron said. “He came up to me and wanted to wear “7,” and deservedly so. I think he’s one of the best players in the country. He deserves “7.” He’s got great character and a great family. I think he’s going to wear it well.”
With his laundry list of accomplishments and accolades from last season, Delpit’s teammates have little doubt the decision to put No. 7 on Delpit was the right decision.
“He earned it,” said LSU linebacker Patrick Queen. “You kind of could have seen that already. Who else could you really give it to at this point?”
As Delpit said, he has a lot to live up to.
Many consider recent recipients of the No. 7 jersey to be some of LSU’s most prolific players in LSU history, one of which made a point to call out to him outside of Tigers Stadium on Tuesday before player interviews.
“Actually, Leonard (Fournette) was just outside, and he told me ‘you’re No. 7!” Delpit said. “He just congratulated me.”
Delpit said newly-signed Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu also reached out to him to congratulate him.
To do add his name to the list of people who did the uniform proud, Delpit said he’ll have to find a way to build on the success he had last year, not just settle for similar numbers and performances.
“You see a lot of guys where their junior year isn’t as good as their sophomore year,” Delpit said. “Those guys go downhill. I’m trying to stay uphill and stay on an uphill path. Just trying to do what I did more last year. It might be hard, but I’m just trying to do everything I can to continue what I did last year.”