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Defensive End Ali Gaye to Return for One More Season at LSU

Getting Gaye back in the fold solidifies defensive line, adds another veteran talent to the group

LSU's defensive line picked up another big addition in the form of a returning veteran to the group. Defensive end Ali Gaye announced on social media he'll be returning to LSU for one last season of eligibility. 

Adding Gaye back into this defensive line rotation is a significant development. Not only is he one of the more talented edge rushers in the SEC when healthy but he gives LSU some quality depth and instant impact veteran leadership as well. In addition to Gaye, safety Jay Ward and linebacker Micah Baskerville also announced they'll be returning for the 2022 season. 

Entering the 2021 season as a preseason All-SEC caliber talent, there was very little thought that the Tigers would be able to keep Gaye in Baton Rouge past 2021. But a torn labrum suffered four games into what was likely his final season, ultimately required season ending surgery.

It was a terrible break for Gaye, who some thought would be a mid round pick in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft with another season like he had in year one with the program. In four games during the 2021 season, Gaye recorded 19 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one pass defended. 

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Opposite Andre Anthony for most of his time on the field, Gaye will now form a formidable 1-2 punch with junior BJ Ojulari, who really stepped up as the season progressed, recording seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss of his own. All of the sudden you look at the quality depth across the entire line and are enamored with the potential of this group.  

Maason Smith has the versatility to play inside or outside, Jaquelin Roy is a rising star on the interior and young talent like Zavier Carter, Bryce Langston, Joseph Evans and Jacobian Guillory all figure to be in the rotation as well. That's not to mention the recent signing of elite 2022 defensive end Quency Wiggins, a freak athlete who could come in and push for playing time right away. 

The Tigers are in a great spot along their defensive line moving forward with a number of its young talent earning playing time a season ago. A year of development under new coach Jamar Cain and this group could be among the best in the SEC next season.