Looking over LSU’s returning players position by position, we have already reviewed the intriguing QB battle between transfer Danny Etling and returning vet Brandon Harris. We have also looked at the possibility of major changes up front with as many as three starting offensive linemen heading to the NFL.
The situations at running back, fullback and tight end are a little different.
Instead of roster battles and holes to fill, these positions offer an embarrassment of riches for the Tigers.
So it’s with that thought in mind, that we take a “sneak peek” at the 2016 LSU Backs and Tight Ends for what hopefully will be a SEC and National Championship run.
Starting of course, with the Tigers’ “strength”.
Returning Running Backs
Nov 7, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; LSU Tigers running back Derrius Guice (5) runs the ball around Alabama Crimson Tide defense during the third quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s just go ahead and say it straight out: Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette are the best tandem to line up in the same backfield since since Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders were teammates at Oklahoma State in the late 80’s.
Everyone knows Fournette’s name, and he will enter the season next year as the clear-cut Heisman favorite. There is not much talent dropoff to his backup, though.
The pair are backed up by NFL prospect Nic Brossette and Darrell Williams, another talented back who may have trouble finding the field next year. The Tigers are also recruiting highly regarded North Webster High School (Springhill, Louisiana, outside of Monroe) RB Devin White.
Fullback will be an area of strength next season. JD Moore should be returned from the knee injury that cost him half the season this year.
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Bry’Keithon Mouton and David Ducre will also return, and they both got a lot of work in Moore’s absence — with Mouton in particular as an intriguing prospect.
LB Ronnie Feist switched to fullback mid season. Partly, this was because of the Moore injury and depth concerns; and partly because of the emergence of Duke Reilly and Donnie Alexander as backups at the LB position.
Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers tight end Colin Jeter (81) catches a touchdown past Auburn Tigers defensive back Carlton Davis (18) during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Colin Jeter will lead the returning group of Tight Ends. There may be some real competition behind him, though.
DeSean Smith is one of the most talented players on the team, but he lost playing time as the season progressed. Even the injury to starter Dillon Gordon didn’t improve his reps late in the season.
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Smith was replaced in the pecking order by freshman Foster Moreau. Moreau is returning with a year of experience under his belt.
Head Coach Les Mikes left the door open to applying for an injury redshirt for Dillon Gordon that will allow him to return as well, although this isn’t likely at this point.
LSU also has a commitment from St. Augustine TE Jamal Pettigrew, a player with enough talent to compete for playing time early.
LSU returns both talent at the top and experienced depth at all three interior offensive skill positions. They aren’t recruiting numbers here but the incoming talent is top shelf and project to develop as legit NFL prospects.
Alongside the Defensive Secondary, the Running Backs, Fullbacks and Tight Ends should be the strength of next year’s team…..