For LSU to quickly regenerate its football depth chart, the Transfer Portal will be a focal point for success.
It’s hard to imagine LSU Football being so depleted on its roster. During the Texas Bowl, the Tigers had 39 available players. That’s not even half the NCAA allowed allotment of 85 scholarship players. Many of the players that left the LSU roster entered the Transfer Portal, and now those same two words must also help rebuild the roster.
In fact, LSU just landed two defensive backs via the Transfer Portal. Mekhi Garner from ULL and Joe Foucha from Arkansas will play for the purple and gold. Both players are cornerbacks, a position the Tigers desperately need to address in recruiting due to only having two cornerbacks on the roster before Garner and Foucha announced for the Tigers.
The cornerback position, while dire until just Tuesday, is one of many issues the LSU roster faces. Here’s a look at some of the other issues the Tigers need to address with the Transfer Portal, as well as perhaps adding high school and/or junior college players. Additionally, due to self-imposed scholarship restrictions, LSU can only reach 81 scholarships for the 2022 football season. The Tigers currently sit at 55 scholarships, meaning there’s up to 26 more spots to fill between now and next fall. Here’s a look at four key positions that need to be addressed before moving on to other positions on Thursday.
Note: Eligibility below is based on what it will be for the 2022 season.
Garrett Nussmeier, Redshirt Freshman
Walker Howard, Freshman
Myles Brennan, Fifth-year Senior
This is a unique situation. The Tigers are rail thin at the position depending on Brennan’s health, and only Nussmeier has thrown passes at the college, which he’s only 29 of 57 for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. LSU will likely pass on the Transfer Portal, but if there are any further issues during spring practice, i.e. injuries or another player leaves, there could be a need to hunt a quarterback via the Transfer Portal.
There’s also Tavion Faulk, but he’s a do-it-all player and not necessarily a true fit in LSU’s offense. It will be interesting to see what new LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly does with Faulk moving forward.
Raydarious Jones, Junior
Damarius McGhee, Sophomore
Mekhi Garner, Redshirt Sophomore
Joe Foucha, Fifth-Year Senior
Laterrance Welch, Freshman
The losses at cornerback are incredibly deep. Losing Derek Stingley, Jr. to the NFL was expected, but the transfer of Eli Ricks to Alabama cuts deep. So does the departure of Dwight McGlothern to the transfer portal.
With Garner and Foucha, the Tigers have a beginning for a depth chart. Now the Tigers need to see if perhaps one or two more can be added. Recruiting supplies a key future Tiger with Welch coming in from Acadiana High School in Lafayette, that makes five total cornerbacks. It’s a good start, and now there is a chance to finalize the depth chart between now and next fall without being overwhelmed with the need for numbers.
It cannot be understated how important it was to sign Foucha and Garner. They truly added depth and players that will compete for playing time.
A player to remember is Arkansas cornerback Greg Brooks, Jr. The former Razorback is a talented player and perhaps one that could make a splash at LSU if he chooses the Tigers. If the Tigers did land Brooks, cornerback depth would be close to a normal situation in terms of numbers.
Mike Jones, Jr., Redshirt Junior
Greg Penn III, Sophomore
Demario Tolan, Jr., Freshman
This position has been ravaged by attrition. LSU could easily take three more players because linebacker is one that often succumbs to injuries to begin with. Having just two returning linebackers as of Jan. 11, that’s a really bad situation. There are walk-ons that could step up, but that’s not going to go well in the SEC West.
The Tigers do bring in Tolan, a top prospect from Orlando. He’s a good athlete that will likely be thrusted into action this next fall. The program will also cross its fingers with the hope veteran Micah Baskerville elects to return for one more season.
Mildly speaking, LSU needs an influx of linebacker help. At minimum, the Tigers need to add two more linebackers for 2022, and preferably three or four. That’s a tall order with so many teams seeking help from the Transfer Portal. Do not be surprised if the Tigers find a junior college transfer as well.
Jack Bech, Sophomore
Kole Taylor, Junior
Mason Taylor, Freshman
While just two scholarship players are listed for spring ball, to be honest, Bech is a wide receiver listed as a tight end. He’s a great athlete and very strong, but he is a big-bodied wide receiver that LSU used as a tight end last season.
Taylor could be a surprise. He’s from incredible bloodlines as his father is Jayson Taylor, the NFL Hall of Fame defensive end. He will certainly have his chance to play fairly early.
Point blank, the Tigers need to make a splash here. One of the players that the Tigers are pursuing would be a name that LSU recruiting fans know well. Michael Trigg out of Tampa is leaving USC and the Tigers are in pursuit. He’s a modern tight end that’s very athletic like Bech, and he’s capable of winning 50-50 balls like a wide receiver.
The Tigers still need an experienced in-line blocking tight end for power football, and the Transfer Portal could help, too.