LSU Football: What You Need to Know About Tigers' WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IJune 18, 2012

OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 19: Odell Beckham, Jr. #33 of the LSU Tigers catches a pass during warmups before a game against the Ole Miss Rebels on November 19, 2011 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. LSU beat Mississippi 52-3. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Every now and then, a freshman enters college football and takes the sport by storm.

We've seen it in the past with names like Adrian Peterson, Chad Henne and last season's breakout freshman, Sammy Watkins.

But all three of those players were highly touted, 5-star prospects when they made the transition from high school to the college ranks.

The same can not be said for LSU standout receiver Odell Beckham Jr. But make no mistake about it, this kid has the talent to take the college football world by storm, just like those other three did.

Beckham Jr. arrived in Baton Rouge last season as a fairly unknown prospect out of New Orleans. He was overshadowed by fellow wide receiver and future teammate Jarvis Landry, a 5-star prospect out of Lutcher, La.

With two big-name starters returning at wide receiver for the Tigers last season in Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard, many believed that Beckham Jr. would sit and learn behind them and most likely redshirt in his first year on campus.

Not so much.

Beckham Jr. had an outstanding freshman season, hauling in 41 catches for 475 yards, both of which ranked second on the team behind Randle. He also added back-to-back touchdown receptions against West Virginia and Kentucky, of 52 and 51 yards, respectively. That right there should provide an indication of just how explosive of a playmaker this kid truly is.

This season, with Randle off to the NFL and Shepard cementing his name as one of the biggest busts in LSU football history, Beckham Jr. will have the chance to shine in this LSU offense. Especially with Jordan Jefferson now out of the picture and Zach Mettenberger taking over at quarterback.

Mettenberger is a pro-style quarterback with a live arm. That is something that this team hasn't had since 2007 with Matt Flynn, which is fitting because the Tigers won a national title under Flynn that season.

While Randle was the type of receiver who was able to use his height to his advantage as a downfield threat, Beckham is the opposite. He is a smaller receiver, standing at 5'11'', 185 pounds, but Beckham Jr. has exceptional hands and route-running ability. For a small receiver, he shows no fear about going in traffic and making a play.

To prove what a big-time playmaker this kid is, take a look back at his numbers from last season. Of his 41 receptions, 20 of them went for first downs, which is an exceptional rate for any wide receiver, no less a freshman wideout playing in a run-first offense.

To understand where Beckham Jr. gets his superior athleticism from, one must take a look back to his family roots. His father, Odell Beckham Sr., played running back at LSU from 1989 to 1992, totaling 757 yards and seven scores in his four-year career. Beckham Jr.'s mother, Heather Van Norman, was an All-American track and field runner for LSU from 1991 to 93. During that period, she helped guide the Tigers to five National Championships and finished with six separate All-American honors.

But it's Beckham Jr. who is now making a name for himself in that LSU purple and gold. Of course, just as it is every year, there will be high expectations for this LSU team in 2012, with National Championship implications on the line every time they take the field.

But if the Tigers are going to make it back to the big game and come away with a win this time, they will need Beckham Jr. to shine again in 2012.

Totaling 50-plus catches for 1,000-plus yards and 10-plus touchdown receptions is not out of the question for Beckham Jr. in 2012.

But those numbers would look a whole lot better with a National Championship Trophy to go along with them as well in 2012.

No doubt about that.