Even with a staggering 14 NFL Draft picks, LSU’s roster remains loaded with talent. A new quarterback, a five-star freshman tight end and a complete overhaul at offensive line highlights at least a few of the changes to an offense that took college football by storm in 2019.
As the Tigers hit the practice field for the first time in nearly five months on Friday, we thought it’d be prudent to project what the game one offensive starting lineup will look. The following projected lineup is based off of everything we’ve heard from coach Ed Orgeron and the staff in recent months.
We don’t who or when or where the first game of the season will be played. Those are decisions that will start to be made this upcoming week. When those decisions are made and the season is on the horizon, here’s who the starters will be on the offensive side of the ball:
QB: Myles Brennan (junior)
After learning under Heisman winner Joe Burrow for the past two seasons, junior quarterback Myles Brennan is next in line to assume the starting role. Patience and commitment, frankly, have been the only two words he’s known throughout his career in Baton Rouge, but for the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, his time has finally come to prove his worth.
“It’s my time,” Brennan said in a recent interview with LSU Athletics. “I fully understand that. And I’m going to do everything in my power to take full advantage of that.”
Appearing in 10 games in 2019, Brennan completed 24-of-40 passes for 353 yards and one touchdown. He often took reps with the second and third team, so it will be interesting to see how he performs with better talent surrounding him.
RB: Chris Curry (sophomore)
As the running back with the most experience entering 2020, Curry “broke out” against Oklahoma in the CFP National Semifinal, running for 89 yards on 16 carries in replacement for an injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
However, before that performance in Atlanta, Curry was sidelined for most of the 2019 season behind Edwards-Helaire, Ty Davis-Price and even John Emery at times. Even though Curry has experience, don’t expect him to dominate the carries in 2020. Davis-Price and Emery will get a bulk of the work as well, but are probably unlikely to start come the opener against USTA.
WR: Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall, Racey McMath
Even with the departure of Justin Jefferson, the receiver position remains loaded.
The return of the Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall and breakout candidate Racey McMath make for another three-headed monster that will create matchup nightmares for opposite defenses.
McMath is one player to watch in particular as the coaching staff has raced about his athleticism. He’s the team’s best special teams option and will finally be given his fair share of the offensive snaps after, like Brennan, patiently waiting his turn.
TE: Arik Gilbert (freshman)
Gilbert steps on campus as one of the most highly-touted freshmen to come through the LSU program. On Friday, he was recognized with the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, the highest honor a high school athlete can be awarded with.
"I'm just speechless, honestly," Gilbert told SI All-American upon being named the 2019-20 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. "I never imagined I'd win something like this but now that I have it, I'm really thankful and grateful."
As a senior at Marietta High School, Gilbert caught 105 passes for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hype is plentiful, and many of the coaches expect an impact from Day 1 out of Gilbert.
OL: Dare Rosenthal, Ed Ingram, Liam Shanahan, Chasen Hines, Austin Deculus
The position group that took the biggest hit after LSU’s national championship season was offensive line. There’s no way around that. Losing four starters from last year’s Joe Moore Award-winning unit is going to be tough to replace, but Orgeron likes the pieces he has to keep Brennan clean.
The ideal plan, Orgeron mentioned in an interview with Off The Bench, is to have Harvard transfer Liam Shanahan at center, allowing Chasen Hines to slide over to his more natural position at right guard.
Then you count in veterans like Austin Deculus and Ed Ingram, and hey, coach James Cregg could actually have somewhat of an underrated group heading into the upcoming season.