LSU is set to return one of its most veteran leaders on defense for the 2022 season. Safety Jay Ward will be coming back for a fourth year in Baton Rouge, according to 247sports Shea Dixon.
Ward had a breakout campaign during the 2021 season for the purple and gold and brings some level of stability to a secondary that's undergone a ton of reconstruction in recent weeks. During this past season, Ward recorded 71 tackles, two interceptions and six passes defended in a successful transition to safety.
After spending most of his first years in Baton Rouge as a nickel corner, Ward was asked to transition to safety last spring and it appeared to be a much more natural position. His tackling, coverage and recognition were all much improved as he became a pillar for a secondary that would lose Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks relatively early in the season.
With Stingley, Ricks, Cordale Flott and Dwight McGlothern all departing the program, the number of returning starters in the secondary was left bare, making Ward's return all the more important. LSU has picked up commitments from Arkansas transfers Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks, as well as ULL cornerback Mekhi Garner in recent weeks to help build the secondary depth back up.
LSU returns Major Burns, Sage Ryan, Derrick Davis, Matthew Langlois, Jordan Toles, Raydarious Jones and Demarius McGhee, the majority of whom are safeties. It'll be interesting to see if the new coaching staff tries to shift a few of the safeties into a potential nickel corner role with depth being an issue at cornerback.
Regardless, there's no doubt LSU will need some veteran presence and internal growth under new coaches Kerry Cooks and Robert Steeples.