Jason Radowitz previews the upcoming College Football season and explains why the LSU Tigers are a solid bet to repeat next season as SEC Champions.
The LSU Tigers won a National Championship in 2020 and then hell broke loose. The Tigers were so good that the whole world started to collapse after they won. Kidding aside, LSU broke plenty of records in an undefeated season which featured a Heisman award winner and plenty of first-round draft picks.
Of course, it’s hard to replace Joe Burrow. Burrow led the Tigers to a National Championship, beating plenty of top 10 ten teams including Clemson, Georgia, and Alabama.
Myles Brennan watched from the sideline last season while insisting that he was never going to leave LSU and wait for his turn. His turn has arrived. The Junior quarterback has added some weight, has started to learn the new system and watched one of the greatest single season for a college football quarterback close up.
There’s going to be plenty of unnecessary pressure on Brennan but coming in from high school, he was highly touted and fits the new LSU system perfectly. He has two years to showcase his skills and has a couple offensive weapons returning to help his case.
The Tigers will miss Clyde Edwards-Helaire who became a first round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs this off-season. He had such a phenomenal season that he elected to pursue he NFL.
The projected starter will be Tyrion Davis-Price who turned some heads last season when given he chance. As a freshman last season, he had 60 carries for 275 yards along with six touchdowns. If he wants to get the starting job he’ll need to become a better pass catcher and blocker, something Edwards-Helaire was fantastic at.
Other backs that will get carries will be John Emery and Chris Curry. Emery has the speed while Curry has a bit more experience from last season. Any one of those three could start but all three will get some kind of workload.
Wide Receivers & Tight Ends:
The LSU Tigers have lost a couple premier players like Justin Jefferson, who went in the first round. However, the Tigers will bring back Ja’Marr Chase, terrace Marshall, and preview Trey Palmer.
Chase had one of the best seasons in college football last season as a receiver. He caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards for 20 touchdowns. If anyone is going to make Brennan look like the real deal, it’ll be Chase, who won the Biletnikoff Award.
Marshall was big-time in the Red Zone, with 13 touchdowns on 46 receptions. He’s going to be a huge red-zone threat for the Tigers.
There’s plenty of unknown with Trey Palmer but his speed and explosiveness make him a huge threat going into the season and could be in line for a bunch of slot work.
The Tigers will also look at potentially starting Arik Gilbert, a freshman at tight end this season. He was ranked as the number 8 overall prospect coming in with a 6-foot-6 253-pound frame. He’s got great catching and blocking ability and is expected to produce right out of the gate.
D-Line & Linebackers:
The Tigers project to start Glen Logan, Tyler Shelvin, and Siaki “Apu” Ika along with Neil Farrell on the defensive line. Logan and Ferrell were key pieces in their championship run last season and Shelvin showed up in big situations.
LSU always has. a solid interior on the line but this year, it can be special. Shelvin is a 350-pound freak who is able to take on multiple offensive lineman to get to wherever the ball is. The coaching staff has raved about Ika and believe he’s going to take a big jump this season.
The entire linebacker group for LSU is going to be changed. Adre Anthony, Damone Clark, and Micah Baskerville will likely get starts at linebacker. While Marcel Brooks played some linebacker last season, he expects to be a safety going into his season.
Clark has high expectations as he looks to follow the lead of Devin White and Patrick Queen. He’s got a crazy burst of speed and will surely be the leading tackler this season for the Tigers defensively.
Cornerbacks & Safeties:
LSU considers themselves DBU. Ok, every team does. Whatever. LSU has a great secondary year after year and they produce enough to make the NFL. That says a lot.
Derek Stingley Jr. and Cordale Flott will get the starts at cornerback for the Tigers. Stingley was a stud in his freshman seasons and figures to be up for many awards this season as a top defensive cornerback. He didn’t look like a freshman last season. Imagine the growth he’ll have this season…
The Tigers will bring back JaCoby. Stevens, Todd Harris, Kary Vincent Jr. at safety along with the potential addition of Marcel Brooks at safety. Grant Delpit won’t be around anymore but there’s plenty of experience in the secondary to make big plays against SEC wide receivers and running backs.
Cade York went 21-of-27 as a true freshman last season for the Tigers. He wasn’t perfect but he was solid enough going 89-93 on PAT attempts. There was never a game where he missed more than one field goal and he’s delivered on 50 yarders a couple times already as a freshman.
In the punting game, they’ll bring back Zach Von Rosenberg. He wasn’t asked to punt much with that LSU offense last season but when he was called upon, he delivered.
BETS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Good teams don’t rebuild. They reload. The Tigers have benefited since winning a national championship as did the players. They got to experience the spotlight and see what it takes to get to that point. The added experience and exposure to greatness will help LSU turn the table and become a college football powerhouse for years to come.
The LSU Tigers don’t really know what losing feels like after going undefeated last season. Joe Burrow left LSU better than he found it and Myles Brennan knows that he doesn’t need to be Burrow to succeed with LSU.
Brennan needs to be himself. Brennan learned plenty from Burrow and can take all that he learned and apply it to making his presence felt.
The Tigers will return plenty of solid offensive weapons and have recruited quality defensive players to minimize the losses to the 2020 NFL Draft.
The team lost plenty of players last season from the championship team but that doesn’t mean they won’t continue their success this season.