BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU football team has lost its third starter in less than two weeks.
Sophomore cornerback Eli Ricks is out for the season with a recurring injury, coach Ed Orgeron said on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday morning. On Monday, Orgeron said that his leading wide receiver, sophomore Kayshon Boutte, is done for the season after suffering an ankle injury in the loss at Kentucky on Saturday.
Last week, LSU All-American junior cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. was ruled out for likely the rest of the season with a foot injury. Stingley has had surgery, and Ricks and Boutte will be having surgery soon.
“This was a sustaining injury that kept on coming back, coming back,” Orgeron said of Ricks, who was a freshman All-American last season and led LSU with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
“And him and his family decided to get it operated on,” Orgeron said. “He kept on playing with it and playing with it, and it just kept on reoccuring.”
Ricks had 11 tackles in six games this season with one interception and one pass breakup.
Injuries have continued to mount for the Tigers this season. In the Game Three win against Central Michigan, LSU starting senior defensive end Andre Anthony injured a knee and was finished for the season. Anthony led LSU with 5.5 sacks last year and had 3.5 this season. Senior linebacker Jared Small, who was expected to start or play a lot this season, was also lost for the year with a knee injury before the season opening loss at UCLA.
The Tigers (3-3, 1-2 SEC) host No. 20 Florida (4-2, 2-2 SEC) at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN. The Gators are a 10.5-point favorite by FanDuel.
“It does make it tough,” said Orgeron, who has lost two straight and, after Florida, has road games at No. 13 Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1) and at No. 5 Alabama (5-1, 2-1) with an open date in between.
“Somebody’s got to rise up to the occasion,” Orgeron said. “We’ve lost several starters on defense. Guys are going to have to step up.”
In the meantime, Orgeron sounds like the captain of a sinking ship. The Tigers were ranked No. 16 entering the season.
“I understand the expectations at LSU,” he said. “I understand that we’re not living up to the expectations. All we can do is go to work the next day, take it one day at a time and give it the best shot we can. That’s what we’re doing. We don’t pay attention to what’s going on out there. Our players listen to it. I’m sure a lot of people around the program are listening to it. And I understand that it’s very bad. I get that. My job is to come to work with a positive attitude every day and do the best job we can on a daily basis.”