A glance at Brian Kelly’s rebuilt LSU football roster

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Mekhi Wingo

A half a century ago, head coach George Allen took over the reigns of the Washington Redskins immediately following Vince Lombardi’s tenure.

At that time, most all NFL teams were built strictly through the draft, perhaps with an occasional trade or two but Allen figured out how to gain instant gratification by constructing his squad with cagey veterans like former Saints quarterback Billy Kilmer and safety Richie Petitibon, a native New Orleanian.

The Washington group was called the Over the Hill Gang, a talented bunch, good enough together. A littlwe instant karma allowed the ‘Skins to reach the Super Bowl VII in Allen’s second season. He demonstrated that the right under-the-radar moves and creating proper chemistry in the locker room can yield immediate success. Allen also proved his skeptics wrong by building with aging veterans.

Fast forward to the present in college football.

LSU has had to react quickly to a wave of departures this offseason starting with underclassmen entering the draft as usual. More pressing is the fact the Tigers have lost 12 players through the transfer portal but 12 new players have arrived through the same process.

Brian Kelly took this path due to necessity. His squad was depleted when he initially agreed to come aboard. It appears that he has added not only depth but players possessing needed leadership and experience.

Seasoned college players who have been through the ropes, some four or more years of college ball udner their belts, adjust quicker. There won’t be as much of a learning curve in regard to expectations. Most freshmen, regardless of their talent, will struggle to adapt in their first fall campaign.

Yes, Kelly has made some unpopular moves with his coaching staff moves due to letting known local assistants such a Corey Raymond and Kevin Faulk go. However, how can you question him? Kelly brings a 73% winning record for his dozen seasons at Notre Dame. The man is a high priced head coach who arrives as an established winner with a plan in mind.

Kelly has also not received his just due for his recruiting skills. He is an impressive salesman for the program despite not always getting the elite recruits to Notre Dame due to the restrictions he faced there. Rest assured that LSU will be cultivating young high school talent in greater numbers moving forward but the veteran market has been a huge plus in the here and now.

The portal is a daily work-in-progress. Players are constantly adding their names to the list and then finding new homes.

According to 247 Sports, LSU has benefited more than any program from the portal this offseason. Eight newcomers are listed among that recruiting site’s top 100, with two others in the top 150.

#12 DT Mehki Wingo
#18 OT Miles Frazier
#62 CB Greg Brooks, Jr.
#70 CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse
#94 DB Joe Foucha
#96 RB Noah Cain
#98 CB Mehki Williams-Garner
#100 WR Kyren Lacy
#105 OT Tre’Mond Shorts
#146 LB West Weeks

That makes the number of defections look far less harmful since just four out of the top 100 left town.

#4 CB Eli Ricks to Alabama
#23 QB Max Johnson to Texas A%M
#30 CB Dwight McGlothern to Arkansas
#45 Landon Jackson to Arkansas

NOTES:
Johnson represents the only Aggie addition through the portal after their banner high school signee haul in December. Alabama has 14 defections and just three additions. Arkansas is still scrambling with 17 defections and just six incoming currently.

Two of Billy Napier’s former Ragin’ Cajuns players who have followed him to Florida are ranked highly (#20 OT O’Cyrus Torrence and #54 RB Montrell Johnson).

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Rene Nadeau

CCS/Fox Sports/ESPN/WFAN

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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