LSU has always been a program where talent has never been the issue. It consistently produces some of the top NFL talent year in and year out, including this past season.
Despite a .500 record and one of the worst defenses in program history, seven former LSU players heard their name called in the 2021 NFL Draft with others signing undrafted free agent contracts. But this is a team that not only welcomes new, elite talent in but was able to retain many of its players from a season ago.
With a traditional offseason of development and perhaps most importantly, a revamped coaching staff with youth and energy, this is a team that could very well be one of the "bounce back" programs in the country.
On Friday, Sports Illustrated released a piece highlighting some of the programs that have the potential to get back on track and compete this season. First on the list was LSU.
Question marks remain at the quarterback spot, where three passers filled in last year after Burrow’s departure. Myles Brennan has the most experience, but there’s no surefire choice behind center next season, although the return of the Tigers’ entire starting offensive line should help lighten the load of any new QB.
Defensively, LSU brings back a plethora of starters, including star corner Derek Stingley Jr. and safety Jay Ward. Combine that with a strong returning pass rush, and the Tigers may have the makings of one of the more experienced defenses in the SEC. They’ll have to replace the production of linebackers JaCoby Stevens and Jabril Cox, both selected in the draft. But now, without fired coordinator Bo Pelini and with plenty of returning talent, it looks like the LSU defense is due for a massive rebound.
While there’s no Burrow waiting in the wings, there might not need to be. All the pieces surrounding whoever ends up at quarterback could be enough. Expect the Tigers to hang around near the top 10 in ’21.
This is not the only publication to figure Ed Orgeron and company are poised for a rebound season. Earlier this week, the Tigers came in ranked No. 20 in the post spring top 25 from ESPN.
Of course these are all projections and LSU has plenty to prove this season if it wants to be back in contention, starting with the new offensive and defensive schemes. What Jake Peetz and Daronte Jones bring this season will be most critical to the success next season.
Orgeron said in a recent interview the staff was beginning preliminary work on how to make the run game more efficient. Next month, the program will start welcoming recruits to campus for the first time. In the next few weeks, Orgeron and the staff will start breaking down film on their 2021 opponents, starting with UCLA on Sept. 1 to open the season.