LSU safety Grant 'Baby Jamal' Delpit following in the footsteps of ex-Tiger Jamal Adams

Glenn Guilbeau
The Daily Advertiser
Sep 29, 2018; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers safety Grant Delpit (9) celebrates after sacking Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Jordan Ta'amu (not pictured) during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BATON ROUGE — Media and fans are often too quick to compare athletes to great athletes of the past.

Some LSU fans have already tried to compare quarterback Joe Burrow to Brett Favre, for example.

Burrow is off to a very good start, but ... please. 

But when it is players who are doing the comparing — particularly players who played with the present and past athlete routinely in practice and games — it rings of credibility.

MORE: LSU returns to where it stood its ground - The Swamp

Such is the case of LSU sophomore strong safety Grant Delpit, who is being compared to former LSU All-American safety Jamal Adams, currently in his second season with the New York Jets as the sixth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

"Oh yeah, we call him Baby Mal," LSU sophomore cornerback Andraez "Greedy" Williams said as the No. 5 Tigers (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) prepare to play at No. 22 Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.

Williams red-shirted at LSU in 2016, but he practiced with Adams, who was the No. 3 safety in the nation in 2014 out of Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas, as well as the No. 38 overall prospect and No. 5 in Texas.

Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

"That's what we call him," Williams said. "Baby Jamal. He's got that same swagger. He's got that, you know, kind of a handsome look."

Delpit was the No. 9 safety in the nation out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, after transferring from Lamar High in Houston, Texas. He was the No. 70 overall prospect and No. 14 in Florida.

Like Adams, Delpit immediately made an impression with teammates and coaches alike at his first practice during spring drills of 2017 as he was an early enrollee.

"He was balling out," Williams said. "Then he started the spring game. He's catching interceptions, making all the tackles. Even making more tackles than Devin (White) in the spring game. Watching him perform then, we knew he was ready. All he needed was the playbook."

Delpit got that down and started 10 of 13 games at safety in 2017, beating out fellow true freshman Jacoby Stevens, the No. 1 high school safety in the nation out of Oakland High in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Adams made his first impressions in August of 2014 and went on to become LSU's fifth defensive back that season.

Like Adams, Delpit tends to create quite a statistic line. In the 45-16 win over Ole Miss Saturday, Delpit made five tackles with a sack, an interception, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.

MORE: LSU's secondary improves against top ranked Ole Miss passing attack

"He's one of the top guys on our defense," Williams said. "He comes in every day ready to work. He puts in extra time in the film room. He's bringing it - a killer instinct - every day at practice and in the games. What he does in the games is something that's not new to us. We've been watching Grant ball in practice."

While Delpit was being interviewed after the Ole Miss game, LSU linebacker Devin White, who had six tackles and two quarterback hurries, walked by and yelled, "Grant for Heisman."

He repeated that a minute later. "Grant Delpit for Heisman."

White played as a true freshman with Adams in the 2016 season. Delpit just laughed and pushed credit toward defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.

"I'm not ready for that," he said. "I'll probably have to make a couple more plays. I credit Coach Aranda for putting me in that position to make plays."

The two players bowing to Delpit are quite accomplished themselves. Williams and White are each projected to leave after their third year of college for the NFL Draft. But apparently they know a good one when they see one in or out of the mirror.

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So does fifth-year senior starting free safety John Battle, who was part of the same LSU freshman class of 2014 as Adams and started next to Adams at free safety in the 2016 season.

"He's Superman right now," Battle said simply. "He's got all the juice. He's in the limelight. I'm happy for him. I'm proud of him. I tell him that. I told him last Thursday, 'You know, you're on the track to be better than Jamal.' He was like, 'What?' I was like, 'Yeah, you can really be better than Jamal.' He was like, 'Nah.' I said, 'I'm telling you right now, as a true sophomore, you're better than Jamal Adams was as a true sophomore.'"

Delpit laughed it off.

"It's just a testament to his work," Battle said. "We know how hard he's been going in the summer and the spring. And I'm just happy to see him succeeding the way he is."

So is LSU coach Ed Orgeron.

"How about the play of Grant? A tremendous night for him," Orgeron said during his opening of his weekly press conference on Monday.

Delpit allows Aranda to do use different formations without substituting because he is so versatile.

"With all the spread offense that we're seeing, you need to move your guys around," Orgeron said. "We need to put more speed on the field. And he's giving us more speed in the pass rush. He's giving us better coverage. He's a dominating player."

But do not get carried away, says Adams himself.

"I respect and appreciate the comparison," Adams tweeted on Monday after first hearing the comparisons. "But let's let No. 9 make his own name. We pushing the envelope a little too far! He has the potential to become a top ten pick for sure, but until then, the Prez is on top. Ha ha. I'm a rare breed."

So far, Delpit has not come up with a nickname for himself.