LSU Spring Football Preview: Offense

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Garrett Nussmeier and Jayden Daniels
(Photo: Jonathan Mailhes)

LSU spring football will commence March 9 and conclude April 22. There will be quite a bit of jockeying for playing time with the departure of key players on both sides of the ball.

This following evaluation does not include much on incoming freshmen who won’t arrive until summer and obviously not anyone who may join the team via the transfer portal following spring drills.

QB

I anticipate Jayden Daniels receiving half of the spring snaps with Garrett Nussmeier getting about 35% since you have to leave a few for any others around. A 2023 signee, Rickie Collins, will probably receive the bulk of those left over.

Daniels is the expected starter but Nussmeier’s performance against Georgia with his overall experience (three years in the program) and talent as a passer keep the QB1 decision from being a total slam dunk. Nussmeier is expected to make a case for an increased role. As a pure passer, he has the advantage over Daniels.

Daniels has played in 43 college football games, accounting for 8,937 yards passing with 47 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, completing 64.5% of his tosses while totaling 2,137 yards and 24 scores as a dangerous runner. He is a running threat that the defense must gameplan to stop. Daniels needs to work on putting more zip on his passes and better touch.

Nussmeier had 298 yards passing vs. Georgia with two TD’s and an interception. In the process, he accounted for the most passing yards in one half in LSU history.

RB

This position is deep with capable candidates.

Josh Williams (5-9,200) is the classic overachiever. The senior landed on the injury list after rushing for 532 yards and six TD’s in 11 games last fall.

John Emery, Jr. has returned for his final season in order to show what he’s capable of when fully healthy. He was one of the most sought after RB’s in the country in the 2019 class. He had three rushing touchdowns against Texas A&M last season.

Armoni Goodwi flashed special skills before a knee injury short-circuited his ’22 season after seven games. Breakaway speed is his calling card.

Noah Cain seized the opportunity towards the tail end of the campaign and demonstrated that he can be a key contributor, averaging 5.2 yards per carry with 8 touchdowns. The Penn State transfer finishes his runs with power.

A 2023 signee, Trey Holly, arrives as Louisiana’s all-time leading rusher (10,523 yards with 146 touchdowns). He is simply too good to just sit and watch. It will depend on how quickly he gets up to speed on the playbook. The spring will be valuable to him. I expect Holly to carve out a role. Kaleb Jackson, another talented signee, arrives this summer.

TE

Mason Taylor made 12 starts and produced 33 grabs for 326 yards and two scores. He also proved to be a key blocker and a player who comes through in the clutch with the game on the line (the Alabama game, for example). Now will the true sophomore be able to show that he can be the next Brock Bowers?

A pair of intriguing freshman signees will draw attention. With Kole Taylor (now at West Virginia) and Jack Mashburn no longer on roster, opportunities will present themselves for the newcomers.

Mac Markway, an early enrollee, is an outstanding blocker. His cousin Kyle is a tight end at South Carolina. His dad played the position at Iowa and his uncle Steve Wisniewski played at Ohio State before a long NFL career as an offensive lineman. If Taylor could carve out a role early last year, Markway could certainly contribute this season.

Jackson McGowan makes acrobatic catches and has a tremendous catching radius. He is also a good blocker. He is a hybrid type who could even play in the slot as a physical mismatch. McGowan snared 52 balls for 941 yards and 12 touchdowns in his last prep season.

LSU-UGA in SEC title game 2022
(Photo: Jonathan Mailhes)

WR

Despite losing Kayshon Boutte, Jaray Jenkins and Jack Bech, this position is one of strength, loaded with talent.

Malik Nabers led the SEC with 72 catches (totaling 1,017 yards and thre TD’s). He is tough is ready to be a featured receiver.

Brian Thomas has the skill and size reminiscent of former LSU star Michael Clayton. Kyren Lacy, who has grabbed 74 career passes (ULL and LSU), adjusts extremely well to passes off target. Both Thomas and Lacy are expected to have expanded roles.

Coveted transfer Aaron Anderson will not be available during spring drills due to an injury.

Sophomore Chris Hilton and redshirt freshman Landon Ibieta will be two players who can earn their keep with the coaches this spring. Hilton is explosive with a 7-foot high jump. The former Zachary High product won the state high jump title three times. Ibieta has velcro hands and deceptive 4.38 speed.His size and competitiveness evoke memories of LSU great Todd Kinchen.

Jalen Brown and Kyle Parker are a pair of freshman newcomers in the ’23 class. Brown is a vertical playmaker who brings energy and swagger from Miami. Parker may be a bit of an unknown, but not for long. The Lucas, Texas product will arrive with a chip on his shoulder to show everyone he belongs. Shelton Sampson and Khai Prean also arrive this summer.

OC

Charles Turner has separated himself through diligence and hard work. Marlon Martinez showed that he is quite capable of handling the position as a trusted reserve.

A 2023 signee, D.J. Chester, whould get a look see at this spot when he lands on campus this summer.

Garrett Dellinger
(Photo: Jonathan Mailhes)

OG

Miles Frazier is expected to slide into the left guard spot while Garrett Dellenger assumes the right guard position in the absence to Anthony Bradford who is off to the NFL.

The versatile Dellenger is a virtual Swiss Army knife, having started at guard, tackle and center.

Tre’ Mond Shorts arrived in the portal last spring with much fanfare. The senior is capable of battling into a starting job.

Kim Makane’ole and Bo Bordelon will contend for playing time inside. A 2023 signee, Paul Mubenga, arrives this summer as does five-star talent Lance Heard from Neville High. Heard is highly regarded so expect him to be afforded an opportunity to earn a playing time quickly at either guard or tackle when he arrives in June.

OT

LSU fielded the best freshmen tackle tandem in the country last season with Will Campbell and Emery Jones. Both should make improvements this spring. St. Aug’s Tyree Adams will come aboard in the summer with the ability to earn a role. Heard may end up in the mix here as mentioned.

There will be lots of cross training along the offensive line in order to find the best quintet.

I fully expect Brian Kelly to add at least two more transfer portal candidates for the offensive line following spring drills.

Next time: the Defense

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Rene Nadeau

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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