LSU Team Preview
In Brian Kelly’s first season at LSU, quarterback Jayden Daniels led the Tigers to an unexpected SEC West title. After transferring from Arizona State, Daniels had planned to stay for only one season. However, he plans to return in 2023 as the best returning quarterback in the Southeastern Conference. More than 3,800 yards were gained by Daniels last season, and he scored 29 times.
All five offensive linemen and one of the SEC’s best young tight ends, Mason Taylor, are back for the Tigers. LSU’s wide receiver group returns almost entirely intact after losing just Kayshon Boutte. Malik Nabers is the team’s leader, and Brian Thomas Jr. scored the most points for the Tigers. The transfer from Louisiana to Alabama, Aaron Anderson, is a prime suspect.
However, more output is required from the running back position. Daniels led LSU in rushing, and Josh Williams, who had missed the first three games with an injury, was second. Logan Diggs, a transfer from Notre Dame who rushed for 822 yards and four scores for the Fighting Irish previous season, was acquired after the spring.
Harold Perkins Jr. was virtually untouchable at times last season. After leading the team to 72 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 13 tackles for loss, he returns as a top linebacker in the country. Greg Penn III, with 78 tackles, is LSU’s best returning tackler, but he will be challenged by Omar Speights, who transferred from Oregon State.
LSU’s 2022 season opening versus Florida State was marred by the knee injury sustained by Maason Smith. In Smith’s absence last season, defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo was a pleasant surprise by being named to the All-America team.
If LSU’s defense can mesh with the talented group of returning offensive players, the Tigers could be heavy favorites to win the SEC West again. Will they be able to take it to the next level and make it into the College Football Playoff? They’d have to win at least half of their remaining games and at least split with Florida State and Alabama, but that’s not impossible.
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