With the door closing on the 2021 college football season, we focus on the 2022 LSU Tigers ahead of the final signing period.
At first look, the roster has about 13 spots left to fill. That number could be slightly off but that is the ballpark number we will roll with. The quarterback position seems to be in a good spot. They have the experience of Myles Brennan returning after he pulled his name from the transfer portal. Plus a pair of young guns in Garrett Nussmeier and Walker Howard.
At running back the team lost Ty Davis-Price to the NFL draft but they return an experience John Emery Jr in 2022. He is the most talented of the group that has Corey Kiner, Josh Williams, Armoni Goodwin, and Tre Bradford. The team is awaiting the decision from TreVonte’ Citizen.
Looking at wide receiver and tight end, again the team should feel like they are in a good spot. With Kayshon Boutte and an emerging Malik Nabers, they have a good tandem of pass catchers. Not to mention they could get Deion Smith back from the portal, perhaps wishful thinking. Jack Bech is the best tight end and they added Mason Taylor to the group.
These are the positional outlooks that I don’t feel overly great about at this point in time.
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We will start in the trenches and specifically out on the edge. The left tackle spot was a revolving door in 2021. Cam Wire was the original starter but multiple players manned that spot throughout the season including Garrett Dellinger, Xavier Hill, and Anthony Bradford. Sorting out left tackle will be huge as they will be the blindside protector.
At right tackle, the team has to replace a veteran leader’s spot left vacated by Austin Deculus. He played in 12 games and Xavier Turner spent time at right tackle for a total of 71 snaps. We could see both positons with new faces in 2022. Those two could be Miles Frazier and Will Campbell. I would expect a huge position battle with those two as well as Wire, Dellinger, and Marcus Dumervil.
Austin Deculus, outgoing senior
Miles Frazier, FIU transfer
Will Campbell, five-star signee
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Brad Davis will be tasked with replacing both of his starting guards from the 2021 season. Chasen Hines and Ed Ingram both are looking to make the jump to the NFL, which leaves LSU with two vacancies at the position. During the 2021 season, Dellinger and Marlon Martinez both saw playing time at left guard when filling in for Ingram.
Behind Hines at left guard, Martinez was once again called upon. As was Kardell Thomas, Anthony Bradford, and Dumervil. Heading into 2022 the battle could end up with Bradford and Martinez as the two starters. You could also expect to find Emery Jones in the mix once he gets on campus.
Chasen Hines, NFL draft
Ed Ingram, NFL draft
Emery Jones, four-star signee
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton
The final spot on the offensive line with concerns is at center. Liam Shanahan started the last two seasons after transferring from Harvard but he leaves after five seasons of college football. This is where one of the interior lineman who don’t win a spot at guard could find themselves amongst the starting five.
I would look at Charles Turner in this spot, along with Marlon Martinez. They could play any of the three interior spots for Davis’ offensive line. It was a minimal experience so this one is the interesting position battle and honestly the most important. Freshman Fitzgerlad West should also be in the mix.
Liam Shanahan, outgoing senior
Fitzgerald West, three-star signee
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The good news for this group is that the top pass rusher from 2021 returns with BJ Ojulari. He led the team with six sacks and could have a bigger impact on the 2022 campaign under the guidance of Jamar Cain. Ojulari’s measurables compare closely to Nik Bonitto, who Cain coached the last two seasons. The team could also have Ali Gaye, who hasn’t decided on his future.
Gaye and Ojulari would be a good one-two punch with Soni Fonua, Jarell Cherry, and Desmond Little returning. We could see some of incoming freshman Quincy Wiggins as well.
Andre Anthony, outgoing senior
Quincy Wiggins, four-star signee
Interior Defensive Linemen
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
The interior group was probably hit harder than some of the other position groups outside of cornerback. They lost Neil Farrell Jr and Glen Logan but thankfully they had standout freshman Maason Smith and Jaquelin Roy ready to step up.
Moving forward with this group, they have plenty of talented guys who can step up for the defense in 2022. The team also has Jacobian Guillory as well as an incoming freshman.
Neil Farrell Jr, NFL draft
Glen Logan, NFL draft
Tygee Hill, three-star signee
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The team loses their best linebacker to the NFL after the 2021 campaign, but they do have some quality depth at the position as they move into 2022. The question remains as to which duo likely gets the start for Matt House’s group.
Micah Baskerville is likely the one starter you can go ahead and plugin. The other would likely be former Clemson transfer Mike Jones Jr. Jones saw ample playing time in the Texas Bowl and he provides a lot of experience having played for Clemson in their CFP run of 2019. Add in Greg Penn III, who also saw plenty of playing time in the bowl game.
Damone Clark, NFL draft
DeMario Tolan, four-star signee
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The cornerback group is the one who took the most hits throughout the season. They lost Derek Stingley Jr to a foot injury, then Eli Ricks to a shoulder injury. The next man up was Cordale Flott and he declared for the NFL draft.
The team relied on Dwight McGlothern, who was unavailable for the bowl game. This meant players like Pig Cage would have to step up and handle cornerback duties along with Darren Evans. The top freshman from the 2021 class Sage Ryan wasn’t available either. That was par for the course in his freshman season as he missed a lot of time.
Derek Stingley Jr, NFL draft
Cordale Flott, NFL draft
Eli Ricks, transfer portal
Laterrance Welch, four-star signee
Jordan Allen, three-star signee
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One safety spot that seems like a virtual lock is where you can find Jay Ward. He is set to return to that spot in 2022. The other was where Todd Harris Jr was the starter in 2021 but likely will be up for grabs. Harris has injury concerns much like Major Burns last season. Both should be competing for that spot.
Another major question is what to do with Sage Ryan. Is he a nickel cornerback or safety? Or is he a hybrid player that can handle both responsibilities. Jordan Toles is another name to consider. The staff is waiting to find out about Jacoby Mathews, the top safety available.