John Emery Jr. waited 21 long months to wear an LSU uniform in a game again, so it was easy for those around him to see how much it meant to him when he got into Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.
Emery, a senior running back who last played on Dec. 12, 2020, checked into the game for the start of the Tigers’ second possession and was handed the ball on the first snap for a meager 1-yard gain.
Then again, it may have felt like a 10- or 20-yard dash for the former five-star prospect from Destrehan High School considering how excited he was about getting on the field again, coach Brian Kelly said Monday.
“He was elated after the game that he played football for the first time in a long time,” Kelly said. “He was sore, tired, and I think he had all the feelings he remembered in playing.
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“He was really nervous going in, but I thought he afforded himself very well. He ran with pretty good vision for a guy that hadn’t played in a while.”
Kelly noted last week that Emery would have to shake off some rust. He did, but still finished with 32 yards on 11 carries and added two receptions for 15 yards.
“All in all, caught the football, played with low pads,” Kelly said. “He’ll get better. I thought it was a good first game for him.”