The LSU secondary is filled with talent, so much so that finding enough playing time at safety for all of the players will be difficult for new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones.
In addition to running the defense, Jones will also coordinate with cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond and coach the safeties. It appears that one of those safety spots will be taken by Jay Ward, the ball hawk rising junior who really came on late in the season for the Tigers in wins over Florida and Ole Miss.
Based on recent comments from coach Ed Orgeron, it appears that Ward has impressed the staff enough to earn a good look as a starter. A cornerback his first two years with the program, Ward was moved to safety ahead of the 2021 spring session for depth purposes and had a positive offseason. But who will be competing for the other spot?
"Got to see who's going to start at safety. Jay Ward coming back at safety," Orgeron said on Off the Bench recently. "Who's it going to be at the other? Is it going to be Jordan Toles? Sage Ryan? Derrick Davis? Matthew Langlois looks great."
Ryan, Davis and Langlois are true freshmen, all of whom have massive potential in this secondary's future. Only Davis was on campus for the spring session and is more of a big bodied safety who has the physical traits to make plays all over the field. Davis is certainly one of the more promising prospects in this class and will be interesting to see if he can win over Jones over the first couple of weeks of fall camp.
An elite level athlete, Ryan figures to be among the freshmen who get a long look this fall not just at safety but on special teams as well. He's been a prospect LSU has been clammering to get on campus for years after winning state titles at Lafayette Christian and being one of the more highly touted recruits in the 2021 class.
On the field, he’s physical, possesses excellent closing speed and takes good angles to the ball carrier. As for Langlois, LSU was in on him later in his recruitment but is one of those guys who could be a dark horse to earn some playing time on the roster.
Langlois plays with reckless abandon. His mindset is to attack down hill, every play. He really improved as a senior by growing into his body more but like Ryan, will need to impress the coaching staff right away in fall camp and through the workouts over the last month.
"I'm counting on those guys coming in and contributing right away for us," Orgeron said this spring about Ryan and Langlois.
The Tigers will of course give guys like Todd Harris and Jordan Toles, who have been with the program, a fair shake as well. But the number of bodies is what's most impressive about this group. It could potentially allow LSU to make substitutions in different packages while keeping everyone fresh throughout the game and confusing the offense.
All of it has to come together in fall camp of course but safety is one of those positions to feel confident in heading into the 2021 season.