LSU exits spring with improved Daniels, promising offensive potential

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Jayden Daniels
(Photo: Jonathan Mailhes)

He is the most improved player on the LSU football team, and that’s saying a lot.

Last year, during the spring, he looked like a one dimensional player, a runner who would use his speed to be most effective.

Yet, a year later, Jayden Daniels has improved leaps and bounds. He could even be a starting quarterback in the National Football League soon.

In the spring game, the LSU starting quarterback was 10-of-11 for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Other than the additional weight he has added to his frame this offseason, it is hard to quantify exactly what looks different about Daniels. When you see a player with confidence oozing out of every pore though, you take notice.

Daniels is definitely that guy. I wouldn’t bet against him being a high pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

Don’t think so?

Here’s a conversation with a veteran NFL watcher in the spring of 2019.

Reporter: What do you think of Joe Burrow’s chances?

NFL person: I think he’s a mid-round pick, probably.

That’s no knock on this individual. A lot of folks had Burrow as pretty good, but not great. No one in their right mind could predict he would be the number one pick in the draft.

I am not saying Daniels will be anywhere close to that, but behind a quality offensive line and aided by quaiity skill position talent while playing a softer schedule, Daniels should put up very good numbers, if healthy.

After the LSU spring game, head coach Brian Kelly showered praise on running back Noah Cain, saying no one “should sleep on” the former Penn State tranfer.

Kelly elaborated, saying Cain is running a lot smoother and not as high as last season.

“You can rely on him in pass protection,” said Kelly. “He can catch the ball. He is a guy you are happy to have on your football team.”

Freshman Trey Holly, the state record-setter from Union Parish, appears to have a bright future as well at running back, where LSU has a logjam.

That’s without mentioning running back John Emer, who is not taking part in spring practice. Kelly said that Emery was prioritizing academics but did not speculate on whether Emery would return in the fall.

Two other Tiger runners who are rehabbing from knee injuries, Josh Williams and Armoni Goodwin, did not take part in spring drills either.

There’s a lot to like about Williams, who averaged 5.4 yards per carry last season and had 21 receptions. He is also is a quality blocker. His block on Jayden Daniels’ touchdown run in overtime against Alabama was classic Williams, super efficient with great effort.

Led by a stellar offensive line and Daniels, LSU could be elite offensively.

On defense, there are a ton of questions, especially in the secondary.

And then there are injuries.

When asked if LSU could compete “physically” for an SEC championship, Kelly didn’t mince any words.

He called LSU’s “lack of depth” a “potential Achilles heel.”\

So, the Tigers in 2023 could be a work in progress, while still being a top 10 team.

The schedule will help. LSU plays Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M at home with Alabama on the road.
Remember the last four times LSU reached the national championship game and won three national titles, they all happened in odd years.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

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Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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