2017 Record: 9-4 (6-2) – Lost to Notre Dame in Citrus Bowl
2018 Coaches Poll Top 25 Rank: No. 24
Can you say rebuilding?
LSU’s offense last year was Derrius Guice, Darrell Williams, Danny Etling, D.J. Chark and Russell Gage almost in its entirety, and now all of those players are off in the NFL. The Tigers leading returning rusher had 96 yards last season, and their leading returning receiver is tight end Foster Moreau, who had 278 yards receiving. Yikes!
Defensively, however, the Tigers are just fine. Turnover is nothing new for their secondary, and they still return future first round pick cornerback Greedy Williams and another likely high draft pick in safety Grant Delpit (only a true sophomore). NFL prospects litter the rest of the defense, from Rashard Lawrence and Breiden Fehoko on the defensive line to Devin White at linebacker.
LSU will need their defense to be great while a young offensive line gels together with transfer quarterback Joe Burrow and a host of 4-star wide receivers. With Auburn and Alabama re-loading as well, the SEC West is a little more manageable at the top than it typically is, but LSU will need the offense to come together quickly to hold off risers in Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.
Top 5 Draft-Eligible Prospects
1. CB Greedy Williams
Nobody will deny that Williams is an exceptional athlete with the length, speed and overall fluidity to be the first cornerback off the board. But his press technique and tackling must improve this year, as well as his ability to stay in phase vertically.
2. LB Devin White
In terms of size, physicality and range, White offers the blend of abilities that NFL teams typically look for in first round linebackers. But his mental processing and block deconstruction are big aspects of his game that are holding him back heading into his junior season. I love his potential, but he’s far from a finished product.
3. IDL Rashard Lawrence
I love Lawrence’s aggressiveness, hand usage and physical/athletic upside, but he has to stay on the field consistently this season. Injuries have plagued Lawrence during his time at LSU, and his play has waned as a result. This could be the year he puts it all together and recognizes his high-end potential.
4. OG Garrett Brumfield
Brumfield isn’t the biggest guard, but he’s physical and aggressive in the trenches. There are times when his leverage is his biggest asset, and if he can improve his technique and hand work, there is top 100 potential here, maybe even higher. Not many guards can move like he does.
5. WR Jonathan Giles
A transfer from Texas Tech, Giles is 5-foot-11, 193 pounds and has excellent speed and long arms. He hails from the Red Raiders air raid offense in the Big 12, so his routes are expectedly unpolished and a lot of his touches are manufactured. But play-making and speed are two things LSU’s offense really values, so the fit could be excellent.
Also add to watch list: TE Foster Moreau, IDL Edwin Alexander, S John Battle