Projecting LSU Football's Offensive Starters for Game One

Who wins out at quarterback? Favorites at receiver? Which freshmen could see the field early?

A new offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator, offensive line coach and a myriad of offseason moves, following what happens with the LSU offense will be one of the exciting components of fall camp.

With the Tigers now just a little over a week until the start of fall camp, many of the offensive positions will be decided within the next month. Here's a pre fall camp projection of the week one starters for the purple and gold.

Quarterback: Max Johnson

This will be a truly open competition come fall but the sophomore Johnson proved a ton to the coaching staff over the final two games of the season. Those wins over Florida and Ole Miss saved an already terrible season from being one of the worst in the history of the program.

Mobility will play a huge role into who ultimately earns this job, whether it's Johnson or senior Myles Brennan. It's easy to forget with all of the gawdy passing numbers Joe Burrow put up in 2019 how invaluable the RPO was to that offense. 

With Jake Peetz truly bringing in this Joe Brady style scheme, speed and diagnosing the proper times to utilize the option play will play into the competition. Ed Orgeron didn't give any hints as to who the Tigers were thinking in the starting role at SEC media days, though he did say both were "championship level" quarterbacks. 

"Whether or not Max or Myles can run it like Joe, I'm not expecting that but I want to see the same type of plays, the same adjustment that was so successful for us," Orgeron said. "That doesn't mean it's going to be the only thing we run but that's going to be the basis of the whole offense, which we ran under Joe Brady."

Running Back: John Emery

LSU will likely start the season by committee as Orgeron said that both John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price are looking more and more like the top recruits the Tigers brought in two years ago. Neither was able to separate from the other throughout the 2020 season but both showed flashes of what the offense could look like when they had it going.

Emery is certainly more of the dual threat player as he had a few big games as a runner and in the passing game as well. Davis-Price is more of the downhill, bruising kind of runner that's useful in those 3rd-and-short situations. It's important for this group to find some consistency in fall camp and there are a pair of electric freshmen in Armoni Goodwin and Corey Kiner who the program think highly of. 

This will be one of the battles to follow throughout all of fall camp.

Wide Receiver: Kayshon Boutte, Koy Moore, Jaray Jenkins

Boutte is set in stone as the next LSU receiver to truly ascend to the top of the conference. He set records over the final three games as a freshman and is really the only firm piece in place at receiver.

There's a whole hoist of freshmen who will be competing for playing time immediately but veterans like Jenkins, who has been in the program and produced last season, is a safe bet to earn ample playing time early in the season. Jenkins is second on the team in returning yards from a season ago as he proved to be a playmaker in the middle of the field. 

Moore is one of a few players who could see that slot role going to, including Jontre Kirklin or Trey Palmer. Ultimately the sophomore out of Rummel will make the biggest impression on the coaching staff as he had a nice end to the 2020 season and a solid spring camp. 

"Kayshon Boutte coming in with some tremendous young wide receivers," Orgeron said. "We have a great offense coming back. I can't wait to see those guys play."

Tight End: Kole Taylor

Taylor is somebody who by taking just one look at him this summer, it’s easy to see  how hard he's hitting the weight room. In 2020, he didn't really see the field until the final two games of the season when Arik Gilbert opted out. 

He made a few plays but ultimately became most known for the shoe throwing incident against Florida that helped preserve LSU's final drive and get the upset win. There will be some competition here as Nick Storz enters his second year with the program and freshman Jack Bech, a player the program is extremely high on, is working on converting to tight end.

Offensive Line: Cam Wire, Ed Ingram, Liam Shanahan, Chasen Hines, Austin Deculus

The loss of Dare Rosenthal certainly hurts but is the only recent development that shakes up this offensive line much. One position to keep an eye on will be Hines at right guard as LSU really likes Anthony Bradford on the interior as well. 

Ultimately how well this unit gels in 2021 will dictate how much success this offense can have. The offensive line struggled keeping the quarterbacks up right and opening up holes for running backs. But the return of Ingram, Shanahan and Deculus, three veteran players on this line, will do wonders for the chemistry up front.

"We didn't have the best season that we had in the past, but having everybody come back from all aspects, from the offensive line to the running backs, it's going to build on the depth, build on the experience of the group, and you're going to see something different," Deculus said.