As spring ball approaches for LSU, there are many positions that feel up for grabs in terms of snaps. One of those positions is safety, where the purple and gold currently have just a few returning veterans and incoming freshmen who are not yet on campus.
The Tigers sprin roster at the safety position will be relatively sparse as the program lost JaCoby Stevens and Maurice Hampton Jr. is off playing baseball. LSU will return Todd Harris and Jordan Toles from last year's roster and freshman Derrick Davis is already enrolled as well.
But as far as scholarship players go, that's it for this spring. It's one of the reasons coach Ed Orgeron mentioned on Off the Bench last week that the program was still in search of possibly another safety to add to the group. New defensive coordinator Daronte Jones, who will be coaching up the safeties this season, has already said he envisions working closely with cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond.
"Going forward, we want to be technique and fundamentally sound. We want to make sure our communication is clear and precise and make sure everyone's on the same page," Jones said. "We'll be working together, so when the safeties and corners are working together, it minimizes any miscommunications.
While safeties will be sparse this spring, the Tigers do have highly touted, SI99 prospect Sage Ryan coming to town this summer as well as Matthew Langlois, a player the coaching staff feels oozes potential despite not being very highly recruited.
In the meantime, there are a few options the program could improvise with in house. Because the cornerbacks and safeties work so close together, one option could be trying out one of the cornerbacks at safety. Junior Jay Ward really came on as the 2020 season drew to a close, making game changing plays against Florida and Ole Miss to help LSU pick up two wins down the stretch.
While he could very well be marked as the slot corner next to Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks, if Jones finds a long player he feels could be useful with the safety group, certainly that's something he and Raymond could work hand in hand with. Rising junior Cordale Flott might be another name to watch as he battled some inconsistency at cornerback and might be better trying a new position out.
Of course there's always the possibility Orgeron elects to fill LSU's final 2021 spot with a safety through the grad transfer market as well. There are a few options out there and surely LSU is doing its research but the program could just as easily bite the bullet and wait for its two freshmen in Langlois and Ryan to enroll.
Until the freshmen, paritcularly Ryan arrive on campus, it's tough to know just exactly how this group will play out. With Harris as the only returning starter and expected development out of Toles and Hampton, this could very well shape into an extremely competitive position as spring ball ends.