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Opinion: LSU’s Position by Position, Better or Worst From Last Year

Lets look at where each position group for LSU stands before spring practice.

Quarterback: No Change

Like Nix and Penix, a new environment revived Daniels’ career. The Arizona State transfer led all quarterbacks in the country this past season with a 0.6% turnover-worthy play rate. The junior was also the only quarterback who rushed for over 1,000 yards. Only Drake Maye and Caleb Williams were more valuable Power Five quarterbacks than the LSU signal-caller in 2022.

Losing Walker Howard to Ole Miss doesn’t help, that’s for sure. But Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier are back and both should improve in Year 2 under offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock with similar weapons and the same offensive line. Plus, the Tigers added four-star signee Rickie Collins.

Running back: Better

Everyone is back: Josh Williams, Armoni Goodwin, John Emery Jr. and Noah Cain. The Tigers also added four-star signees Kaleb Jackson and Trey Holly.

Wide receiver: Better

Whether the Tigers got better is debatable. On the one hand, losing Kayshon Boutte, Jaray Jenkins and Jack Bech isn’t good. Boutte gave the Tigers an explosive element downfield that won’t be easy to replicate. Jenkins was extremely reliable when called upon and Bech was a quality option in the slot.

But, on the flip side, Alabama transfer Aaron Anderson provides another explosive option to a position group that added four-star signees Shelton Sampson Jr., Jalen Brown, Kyle Parker and Khai Prean. The Tigers also bring back top wideout Malik Nabers, Brian Thomas Jr., Kyren Lacy and Chris Hilton Jr. from injury.

Offensive line: No Change

Five of the top six contributors last season are back. The only one who left was Anthony Bradford (NFL Draft). That’s the good news. The bad news is that the depth behind the starters is paper thin after four of LSU’s veteran backups are transferring. LSU does have a good group of incoming freshmen, including five-star Zalance Heard, but it still needs veteran depth.

Tight end: Better

LSU will not have to rely on Mason Taylor as heavily this season after adding three freshmen in December: Mac Markway, Ka’Morreun Pimpton and Jackson McGohan. This group is young but a lot deeper than it was a year ago.

Defensive line: Worst

After adding Paris Shand, Bradyn Swinson, Ovie Oghoufo, Jordan Jefferson and Jalen Lee from the portal, LSU has drastically improved its depth on its defensive line, particularly on the interior.

Smith coming back from injury will also help immensely, as will adding five-star signee Da’Shawn Womack and four-star Jaxon Howard. But without BJ Ojulari, Ali Gaye and Jaquelin Roy, LSU loses most of the elite talent that made its defensive line a special group in 2023.

Linebacker: Worst

LSU lost Mike Jones Jr. and Micah Baskerville, plus Kolbe Fields and DeMario Tolan to the transfer portal. That’s a lot of depth gone in one offseason. But the addition of Oregon State All-Pac-12 selection Omar Speights from the transfer portal evens out a lot of what the Tigers lost. Freshmen Whit Weeks and Christian Brathwaite should also help fill in the gap.

Safety: Better

With Brooks and Major Burns back, LSU will have two of its top three safeties returning. The Tigers will also have more depth behind them after signing a trio of recruits in December: Kylin Jackson, Ryan Yaites and Michael Daugherty. Additionally, Matthew Langlois is expected to be back from injury.

Cornerback: Better

LSU lost all of its key contributors – except for Sage Ryan – which is usually not a good thing. But the Tigers got much younger, deeper and more talented at cornerback without sacrificing too much experience. Former five-star recruit and Texas A&M transfer Denver Harris, Syracuse transfer Darian Chestnut and Ohio State transfer JK Johnson highlight the improvements.

Special teams: Worst

With Jay Bramblett, Nathan Dibert and Damian Ramos back, LSU’s specialists will be the same in 2023. The real question is whether special teams coordinator Brian Polian can improve the pieces around them.