Updated: Jul 24
The national champion tight end joined episode 60 of the PACT Life Podcast to discuss his offseason and preparation for the 2020 CFB season.
After winning the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship and experiencing the confetti, parades and the White House, where does that leave the 2020 LSU Tigers? Witnessing the transition is LSU’s senior tight end Jamal Pettigrew.
Prior to returning to Baton Rouge, La. for voluntary workouts on June 9, Pettigrew joined the PACT Life Podcast on May 22 to share his training routine during the COVID-19 pandemic, his thoughts on quarterback Myles Breenan, LSU’s offense and his feelings on LSU players drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Pettigrew joined episode 60 of the PACT Life Podcast.
Video posted by PACT TV.
The national champions lost 16 players to the NFL Draft, including the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and 2019 Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit, and they lost two coaches, passing game coordinator Joe Brady and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, after winning the coveted title. Most notably, Breenan is taking the reins of starting quarterback.
In Brennan’s collegiate career, he has not started and has only thrown two touchdowns in 15 games. Yet, Pettigrew has full confidence in his new starting quarterback. “I’m very confident in Myles Breenan,” he said. “What it’s going to take for us to get back to where we want to be, I think it’s going to take for us to just trust in each other and continue to work on timing … I believe in Myles. He has a great talent and a great arm. I believe that he’s going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country this year.”
Brennan will have the keys to the tiger kingdom with an assortment of weapons to compliment him in an attempt to repeat 2019’s success. “We have two returning starters at receiver with Ja’Marr Chase, the Biletnikoff Award winner, and we have Terrace Marshall. I think [Marshall] was a big sleeper [last season] and overlooked because of the amount of offensive power we had on the field last year,” Pettigrew said. Chase was a huge factor to LSU’s success last season, having 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. On the other hand, Marshall caught 46 passes for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. With Justin Jefferson heading to the Minnesota Vikings, a bigger role may be in Marshall’s future.
In addition, Pettigrew gave praise to another LSU wideout and their incoming recruiting class. “We also have Racey McMath; he was like a sixth man to the receivers last year. He’s going to be great in the starting lineup, and plus we have a lot of great freshmen coming in and me. So, I think as long as we continue to work, I think we’re going to be right back where we were last year in the national championship,” Pettigrew said. McMath finished the 2019 campaign with 17 catches for 285 yards and three touchdowns. Further, according to 247Sports, LSU has the fourth best recruiting class in the country that features 5-star tight end from Marietta, Arik Gilbert, and the Tigers will have a security blanket with Pettigrew. With a replenished offense filled with hungry veterans and promising freshmen, LSU aims to repeat the offensive success of their historic 2019 season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers retained the 2019 Consensus All-American Derek Stingley Jr. and returning defensive backs: Kary Vincent and JaCoby Stevens. In addition, the fourth best recruiting class in the nation, which includes 5-star cornerback from IMG Academy Elias Ricks, will make their way to Death Valley to aid the veteran Tigers.
In order to even attempt to repeat as champions, the Tigers must overcome the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has put the Tiger team in survival mode, as the team ensures no player, coach, staff, etc., come down with the deadly virus. Since LSU could not have a usual offseason, the coaching staff got creative with their players. Pettigrew said, “We [have] a point system, and [the coaches] put all the players on the team into groups or teams. The more videos you send in of you doing the workout, the drill, even your meals … that’s points for your team,” he said. “You don’t win anything, but it’s really just [an] accountability challenge to make sure you’re doing things … I think our team is far ahead of everybody in the country right now just because of this challenge and what we’re doing to stay accountable to the team and to each other.”
Additionally, Pettigrew shared his personal regimen during COVID-19. “I map out everything that I want to do. So, on Monday’s, I’ll work out. Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s [and] Thursday’s, I’ll do drill work or go run routes with a quarterback. And Friday’s, I’ll work out again in the weight room. Also, I’m always running, trying to stay in shape and eating the way I’m supposed to eat. So, it’s really just staying consistent and just motivating yourself really. If you don’t have no type of motivation during this time, you’re not really going to be productive,” he said.
The 2019 LSU football team was so historic that LSU football tied an NFL Draft record with 14 players drafted in seven rounds, and they had a handful of players signed to teams as undrafted free agents. Pettigrew revealed his feelings on his peers going pro. “I was disappointed [at] two of my closest friends: Grant [Delpit] and Kristian [Fulton]. I think they should’ve went higher than what they went. But, being drafted period is a blessing, no matter where you got drafted. I think we had a great draft. One draft pick I was happy about that I think was most deserving was Clyde [Edwards-Helaire] being drafted at 32 to the Chiefs. He’s going to have an immediate impact over there,” he said.
Pettigrew went on to acknowledge his LSU teammates that were drafted or went undrafted. “I was happy for Stephen Sullivan being drafted to the Seahawks. I think he’s going to be good. Lloyd [Cushenberry]. Damien [Lewis]. Blake Ferguson. I was really happy for [Ferguson]. I think that was well-deserving. He stayed in college for five years snapping, so he deserved that. I was happy for all of my teammates,” he said. “I think there were some other people that should’ve got drafted like Thad [Moss], but he had some unfortunate things happen to him … Adrian Magee; I think he should’ve got drafted because he had a pretty good season. I think all of them deserved it because of the amount of work they put in to have this successful season. I was proud of all of them.”
LSU Football celebrates the players that were drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Video posted by LSUsports.