Tigers Top Tandem

Four Big Ten receivers amassed 1,000 or more yards this season and Iowa faced two of them. The Hawkeyes will see two more in the Outback Bowl and they're on the same team.

CORALVILLE, Iowa - Phil Parker began his coaching career a year after his playing days ended at Michigan State in 1986. Iowa's defensive coordinator has watched a lot of athletes in those 26 seasons.

So, when Parker heaps praise on an opponent from a historical standpoint, it carries compelling context. Such is the case with the LSU wide receivers.

Parker spoke here Monday about the group led by Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.

"It's going to be a heck of a challenge," Parker said during an OutBack Bowl luncheon. "They're probably the most talented receivers I've seen in a long time."

The Tigers named Landry (6-1, 195) their season MVP at the team banquet. The junior, who is leaning towards leaving for the NFL, caught 75 passes for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns. On third down, he rolled up 453 yards and six scores.

Beckham Jr. ensures that opponents can't focus all of their attention on Landry. The 6-0, 193-pound junior caught 57 passes for 1,117 yards (19.6 per reception) and eight touchdowns.

Beckham Jr. could follow Landry into the NFL Draft. Analysts believe the duo would be selected in the early rounds.

"They do a good job catching the ball," Parker said. "They do a good job blocking; of running the routes. They know where they want to get them the ball.

"They move them around so it's going to be hard to double the guys. They do a good job and they're good players and they're aggressive and they love the game of football."

LSU pass receiving options after its top two drop off precipitously. Running back Jeremy Hill's 18 receptions rank third on the team. Nobody else has caught more than seven balls.

It should be noted that the majority the statistics posted by Beckham Jr. and Landry were delivered by senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who will miss the Outback with a torn ACL. True freshman Anthony Jennings will be attempting to find his talented wideouts after throwing 10 passes all year.

We don't know how much Mettenberger meant to the receivers. Perhaps they will aid Jennings in his first college start. When you watch the above videos, it's painfully obvious that they are capable of catching the ball even when it's not put right on their numbers.

"They're unbelievably athletic," Iowa Safety Tanner Miller said. "They're top notch players. They do everything. They're the full package. They block downfield. They run great routes. They don't take plays off, which you can see some receivers do if the play is going away from them."

Miller said that the Landry and Beckham Jr. are as good or better than any tandem he's seen in his four seasons at Iowa, three of which came as a starter.

"We haven't gotten a chance to play an SEC team yet," Miller said. "That's what they're known for, their athleticism, their speed and their play-making ability. It's going to be a great challenge for us and we're really looking forward to it."

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