LSU's Derek Stingley Jr., among the top talents in college football, intends to file for early eligibility to enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
The junior cornerback announced the news in an article posted to The Players' Tribune on Thursday.
Stingley missed all but three games of his final college season due to October surgery on his left foot, but established himself as one of the elite talents at the position as a true freshman in 2019. That season, he earned consensus All-America honors with an SEC-leading six interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 15 games. Stingley (6-foot-1, 195 pounds, per school measurements) has a remarkable combination of size and speed, having run a 4.30 40-yard dash as a high school recruit, along with a 42-inch vertical jump. At a premium position such as cornerback, Stingley will be a highly coveted prospect for NFL clubs in need at that spot. In LSU, he comes from one of college football's top producers of NFL defensive backs. He was coached there by six-year NFL veteran Corey Raymond, himself a former LSU defensive back, and maintains private workouts with former LSU and Pittsburgh Steelers DB Ryan Clark.
As a sophomore in 2020, Stingley was less effective in coverage than his freshman year, breaking up five passes without an interception in seven games. NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah scouted three of Stingley's 2020 games and nevertheless came away highly impressed, comparing him to New Orleans Saints former first-round pick Marshon Lattimore.
Stingley initially injured his foot over the summer, but returned to action for LSU's first three games, making eight tackles (3.5 for losses) before reinjuring the foot. The procedure proved to be season-ending, marking a disappointing end to a disappointing season for the Tigers, who finished 6-7 and parted ways with coach Ed Orgeron.
Stingley is the grandson of former New England Patriots WR Darryl Stingley, who was paralyzed by a hit from Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum in a 1978 preseason game.
Underclassmen who plan to enter the 2022 draft have until Jan. 17 to file declaration papers with the league.