LSU WR Malachi Dupre no longer plays timid

Malachi Dupre is injury-free and that's made a huge difference in his game.

LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre suffered a significant setback last year three days into his freshman fall camp.

He pulled his hamstring that preseason and the injury lingered several weeks into the season. It’s a major reason why one of the nation’s top recruits in the 2014 class doesn’t feel he lived up to his own expectations.

“It affected me drastically,” Dupre said. “I went from getting a lot of reps with the first team to having to get back on my feet while other guys had the ball rolling already. I basically missed a month of time, and I had to pick back up when they’d already left me.”

Dupre didn’t travel with LSU for the season opener in Houston against Wisconsin. He did record his first career touchdown in the next game against Sam Houston State, but he admitted he wasn’t close to 100 percent at that time.

He said he didn’t really start to feel healthy until the second half of the season. But despite that, Dupre did still finish the season second on the team in both touchdowns (5) and receiving yards (318).

About half of his production though came in just two games. He didn’t record multiple catches in a game after the fifth week of the season and only had one touchdown during that stretch.

“When you’re coming off a soft tissue injury, you’re always timid,” Dupre said. “When you’re running with the injury in the back of your mind, you may not play as fast as you need to.”

That’s not the case this year.

Dupre made it through the preseason without injury and is set to start Saturday against McNeese State. He didn’t miss any practice time during camp, and he said that’s already made a huge difference in his game.

“Last year when I got back, it was scout team practices, and that doesn’t really get you as prepared as you need to be for the season,” Dupre said. “Going against the starters for a month straight prepares you so much more and helps you get the mental and physical reps.”

That hamstring injury from 2014 is nothing but a memory now.

“That’s what I’m thanking God for the most,” Dupre said. “Now I don’t have any of those worries in my mind, so that allows me to think better and play faster.”

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