Despite low production, LSU’s Kelly pleased with All-American Boutte

STAR NOT SPARKLING:  Kayshon Boutte (1, in 2021)  has been open in space, says LSU coach Brian Kelly, but Tiger quarterbacks haven’t found him yet. (Photo by GUS STARK, LSU Athletics)


BATON ROUGE — Kayshon Boutte has yet to make an impact.

In four games this season, the LSU junior has hauled in a mere 11 receptions for 97 yards and has yet to find the end zone.

Boutte’s lack of production heading into Saturday morning’s showdown with No. 8 Tennessee in Tiger Stadium isn’t for a lack of trying.

“Look, I mean, part of this is building trust with a new quarterback,” LSU first-year coach Brian Kelly said during his weekly press conference Monday. “Obviously, we’re trying to get him the football. He is getting a lot of double coverage.”

Even with Boutte missing spring practice due to offseason ankle surgery, and allegedly considering transferring to the University of Alabama, the SEC record-setting wide receiver was anticipated to be one of the catalysts of the Tigers’ offense under Kelly.

Boutte earned AP Preseason All-American honors and was bestowed the prestigious No. 7 jersey for this season. 

But Boutte has yet to develop chemistry with starting quarterback Jayden Daniels. He is sixth on the team in receiving yards, tied for third in receptions, and fifth in receiving yards per game. 

Boutte also has four drops.

“Numbers are numbers,” Kelly said. “At the end of the day he is going to continue to play this game at the next level, and the numbers won’t dictate where he gets drafted. It’s his ability to continue to play the game at the highest of levels, and when you turn on the film and he is running full speed and he is beating guys and the ball didn’t come to him for whatever reason, that’s out of his control.”

Boutte broke onto the scene as a freshman in 2020.

After showing flashes playing with quarterbacks Myles Brennan and TJ Finley, the New Iberia native caught fire after the Tigers switched to QB Max Johnson.

During that 2020 season, Boutte led LSU in receiving yards (735), finished second in receptions (45) and touchdowns (5), and also set an SEC record with 308 receiving yards on 14 receptions in a win over Ole Miss.

Boutte appeared primed for another stellar season in 2021 but an ankle injury ended his season after six games.

Part of the issue this season could be lack of reps between Boutte and Daniels, a graduate transfer from Arizona State. Boutte has played primarily with Johnson and Brennan but the former transferred to Texas A&M in the offseason and the latter retired from football in August as Daniels won the starting job.

With no time playing together in the spring as Boutte recovered from his surgery, LSU’s star receiver and its starting quarterback are essentially playing catch up. In comparison, Malik Nabers played with Daniels in the spring and currently leads the Tigers in receptions (22) and yards (290).

Despite public perception based on Boutte’s body language on the sidelines, Kelly admitted Monday that he and offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock would like to get him the ball more – but pointed out that Boutte is happy and has handled himself like a pro.

“So what Kayshon continues to do better each and every week is he controls what he can control,” Kelly said. “He does that in practice now, and he does that in games. He was happy we won the football game. Would he like the ball more? Absolutely. Would I like to get it to him more? Absolutely. But, he has handled himself in the right way, and he continues to work for the team.”

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