INSIDE: Dupre on NFL Draft decision; Jamal Adams sets announcement date
By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
ORLANDO, Fla. — Malachi Dupre hadn’t yet had a chance to rifle through his cell phone, which had been buzzing since before the final whistle of LSU’s 29-9 drubbing of Louisville in Saturday’s BWW Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium.
But while he couldn’t be sure, he had a hunch one of the many messages was from Odell Beckham Jr.
That’s just standard operating procedure whenever an LSU wide receiver — particularly one from New Orleans — hauls in a sick one-handed grab in a nationally televised bowl game.
“When I saw the replay, I was like that’s the Malachi Dupre I know,” Citrus Bowl MVP Derrius Guice said.
“I’m the third read on that play, but I guess the defense that Danny (Etling) saw, he felt that I should be the first,” Dupre recounted. “As soon as I got my head around the ball was in front of me. I really didn’t have any time to get my second hand on it, so I just reached out and grabbed it.”
Whatever the read, Etling looked Dupre’s way early and often in the Citrus Bowl.
The junior wideout had the kind of monster game that so many predicted he’d have a slew of by this point in the 2016 calendar. Dupre surpassed his career high in the middle of the second quarter en route to a seven-catch, 139-yard effort on eight targets.
It started with a bomb down the right sideline for 39 yards on LSU’s first play from scrimmage and continued on through the one-handed snag. He notched receptions of 18, 14 and 29 yards between LSU’s two first-half touchdown drives.
“It wasn’t nothing spectacular,” Dupre said. “Danny was just putting it where it needed to be. I was getting open and we were putting together plays to keep drives alive.”
The effort marks a glimmering high note in what has largely been a frustrating season for the former five-star pass catcher. He’s seen his targets decrease since Brandon Harris was benched in favor of Etling, and the two have never seemed to be on the same page.
Still, it couldn’t have come at a better time for Dupre as he continues to weight his options of returning to LSU for his senior season versus declaring for the NFL Draft.
For now, Dupre says he’s still got a lot of “thinking to do” in that regard and said he’s not leaning one way or the other at this time, regardless of any reports out there stating the contrary.
“I was worried about the bowl game and focused on that,” Dupre said. “But now that that is over, obviously I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. I’ve got my family and the right people around me to help me make this decision.”
Dupre spoke with newly-hired offensive coordinator Matt Canada shortly after Orgeron hired him to Baton Rouge.
Canada didn’t lay out a specific role he envisioned for Dupre should the talented pass catcher be a part of LSU’s offense in 2017, Dupre said, but he did come away from the conversation feeling impressed and comfortable about working with Canada should he opt to return.
“Coach Canada is a really good guy,” Dupre said. “The first time I got to meet him and hang out with him, he put out a really good vibe. I enjoyed my time. He’s going to be a great coach here.”
As always, consider these re-recruitment situations to be fluid and unpredictable until an announcement is made. But if nothing else, Dupre gave himself and NFL scouts a lot to think about Saturday afternoon.
ADAMS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE
Jamal Adams will hold a press conference at LSU on Jan. 6 to announce his future plans, the junior safety told Tiger Rag after Saturday’s game.
Adams, a likely first-round pick were he to declare, maintains he hasn’t made up his mind yet about whether or not he’ll return to LSU for his senior season, but it seems like he’ll have an answer sooner rather than later.
“That decision will be determined, so we’ll just go from there,” Adams said. “At the same time, I’m just going to enjoy this win with my brothers and my family.”