State of the LSU roster already different as big change looms at season’s end

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Jack Mashburn
Jack Mashburn (Photo: Jonathan Mailhes)

Fast and furious days lie ahead for LSU football.

Within the next three weeks (or less) , the LSU football offices will be buzzing with activity and change. The roster will be noticeably adjusted as the curtain drops on the ’21 campaign. The players who have exhausted their eligibility will move on to new horizons. There will be some with eligibility remaining who are ready for the next stage in their careers,hoping to test the NFL waters. Still others, knowing there will be a new sheriff in town and not sure if they will fit into his plans, will enter the transfer portal

The existing 2022 recruiting class will have to be addressed immediately following a coaching hire, with the impending early signing day right around the corner on December 15. I would not be surprised if a few of the current staff are retained in order to maintain a semblance of continuity.

This season’s Tigers looked to be a far different squad when the season began 10 weeks ago. Opt outs, injuries and transfers have shaped the team into a far different version that we now witness. The line extends around the block as to those those heavily counted upon when the season took flight but now missing.

RB John Emery-academic casualty
QB Myles Brennan-season ending injury, transfer
LT Dare Rosenthal-transfer
DE Ali Gaye-season ending injury
DE Andre Anthony-season ending injury
LB Bugg Strong-transfer
CB Eli Ricks-season ending injury
CB Derek Stingley, Jr.-season ending injury
WR Koy Moore-transfer

For those scratched from the roster, opportunity arose for others. Many seized that chance and capitalized on it.

True freshman tight end Jack Bech (6-2, 220) is the team’s leading active receiver with 37 catches for 432 yards and three scores. His season high was seven grabs for 84 yards versus Auburn.

-Walk on tight end Jack Mashburn (6-3, 224, Soph.) made three appearances in 2020. The former All State Honorable Mention QB at St. Paul’s (Covington) has developed into a starter and key figure on offense. He has taught himself how to block and his contributions go far beyond his three catches for 51 yards.

Offensive guard Marlon Martinez, a sophomore, made his third career start against Arkansas last week, after only being involved in 13 snaps last season.

Offensive guard Kardell Thomas played Significant snaps vs. Arkansas after many LSU faithful thought that he may have been in the witness protection program the previous three seasons.

Defensive tackle Neil Farrell (6-4, 325, graduate) from Mobile, Alabama has helped himself immensely with his performance this season. He has played in 35 games as a Tiger. This season he has piled up 36 stops and has assumed a role as a leader on defense.

Dwight McGlothern (6-2, 183), the sophomore cornerback from Houston, has proved he can compete at DBU. He had nine tackles in ’20. Gaining confidence this season with experience, McGlothern now has 30 stops with two for loss and a 37-yard interception return for a TD against Florida. He has displayed excellent coverage skills this season.

Linebacker Damone Clark (6-3, 245, Sr.), the Southern Lab product, has emerged into a star this year. No one has done more to improve his stock in the eyes of NFL scouts, putting himself in position to go early during the first two days of the upcoming NFL Draft. His 119 tackles (second in the nation), 10 TFL and 3.0 sacks are eye-opening. Clark recorded a career-high 19 tackles against Ole Miss. This is his second season donning the prestigious jersey #18 at LSU but this year he has shown he truly deserves it.

A tip of the hat goes to Nicholls State transfer Darren Evans. The former Glen Oaks High product was much maligned last fall after recording six tackles. The 6-foot-3, 175 pounder has 13 stops this year and has represented himself well in coverage opportunities.

Wide receiver Trey Palmer (6-0, 180, Jr.) the previous two seasons combined produced 11 receptions for 114 yards and no touchdowns. He has developed into a key option and has amped up his productivity this year with 24 catches for 273 yards and a pair of scores on the season.

Cameron Lewis (6-1, 205, graduate), the former Wossman star, is in his fifth season in Tiger stripes. In a limited reps prior to ’21, he recorded 33 career tackles. Now in an expanded role, Lewis has chipped in with 40 tackles, 2.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks at his safety spot. He may have an opportunity to play on Sundays.

Wide receiver Devonta Lee (6-2, 215, Jr.), the ex. Amite High star began as a wideout but moved to linebacker before returning to wideout. He entered this season with two catches for 27 yards. He now has eight grabs for 80 yards and a score this season, providing a mismatch against smaller defensive backs.

Running back Tyrion Davis-Price (6-1, 233, Jr.) when it became apparent that John Emery would not be available. He grabbed the bull by the horns. He totaled 446 yards and three touchdowns last fall but has nearly doubled those numbers this season with 838 yards (4.9 yard average with six touchdowns). His 287 yards and three touchdowns in a school record setting performance against Florida showed he may be worth a long look at the ’22 NFL Draft, much like Clyde Edwards-Helaire did following a stellar 2019 campaign.

The most prominent candidates we’re hearing thus far for new head coach? JImbo Fisher, Mel Tucker and Lincoln Riley. You can expect a darkhorse to emerge though. It’s Scott Woodward’s call.

If you glance back to the history of LSU hires, the common thread between those with championship pedigrees are that most had a background as a defensive specialist. Think Nick Saban, Charlie McClendon, Ed Orgeron and Bill Arnsparger. With that in mind, has Dave Aranda made a case for himself following a stunning 27-14 upset of Oklahoma? Based on that thought process, Mel Tucker and Dave Aranda could get strong consideration.

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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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