When Ed Ingram was reinstated on Sept. 20, 2019, after serving more than a year long suspension, most assumed he'd eventually win the starting left guard job back. That included coach Ed Orgeron.
There was one massive 6-foot-4, 343-pound roadblock that stood in Ingram's way and that was senior guard Adrian Magee. Magee wouldn't relinquish control of that left guard position, starting in 13 games at the position with the other two starts at left tackle.
Orgeron said from the beginning that Ingram would have to beat Magee out for the starting spot but that it was something he believed would happen at the time.
"He has to beat (Magee) out," Orgeron said. "That is probably going to happen. As we know, Ed's a really good player."
As a freshman in 2017, Ingram burst onto the scene, starting in 12 games at right guard and establishing himself as one of the top returners in the 2018 season before his suspension. But as Magee continued his stellar senior season in 2019, Ingram was great for depth.
When starting right guard Damien Lewis was injured just seven plays into the Tigers win over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, Ingram seamlessly inserted himself into the rotation and played 68 snaps en route to a 63-28 victory over the Sooners. Ingram would make appearances in 10 total games, including starts against Ole Miss and Arkansas, where LSU combined for 114 points and 1,326 yards of total offense.
So between the 10 games he played in last season and the 12 he started as a freshman in 2017, not only does Ingram have the SEC experience but he has relatively fresh legs after spending much of last season as the primary backup.
His experience will be needed to sure up that left guard spot for Orgeron and company in 2020. The offensive line is one of the biggest question marks facing the team as right tackle Austin Deculus is the only full time returning starter from a season ago.
At 6-foot-3, 315 pounds he has the size and flexibility to play either guard position though the coaching staff is looking at Anthony Bradford, Kardell Thomas or Harvard transfer Liam Shanahan at right guard.
Having Ingram be a reliable piece at left guard will go a long way as the interior o-line, particularly center and right guard remain wide open heading into preseason camp in July. ESPN's Cole Cubelic is extremely high on Ingram's potential this season, ranking him as the No. 4 guard in the SEC.
LSU Sports digital media reporter Cody Worsham also reported that of the 1,151 snaps he's played over his career at LSU, Ingram has allowed just one sack. Orgeron has already come out and said this offseason that he expects Ingram to be the left guard and that Thomas Perry and Marlon Martinez are the backups.
"I think Ed's going to have an outstanding year," Orgeron said in an interview a few weeks back on "Off the Bench."
"Ed [Ingram] is a lead by example guy, a lot like Lloyd [Cushenberry] was," offensive line coach James Cregg said.
He's kind of flown under the radar in terms of importance this offseason but having stability on the interior offensive line will be a key to offensive success and that starts with Ingram.