This isn't necessarily a complete rebuild that Brian Kelly must construct this offseason. There's young talent remaining in Baton Rouge, like there is every year but with the Tigers low on numbers at a number of key positions, expect this to be a very busy next few weeks nonetheless.
The existing talent on this roster lies in some key positions and there are a few players ready to make that jump into superstardom. Here are three young up and coming stars who are poised to make a giant leap in the 2022 offseason.
Malik Nabers (WR)
Of all the freshmen receivers down the stretch of the 2021 season, no one was more consistent on a week to week basis than Nabers. That's not taking anything away from Brian Thomas, Chris Hilton or even tight end Jack Bech who all showed tremendous promise as freshmen.
Over his last five games of the season, Nabers brought in 16 receptions for 262 yards and three touchdowns, including a gargantuan performance against ULM. At 6-foot-1, he has the length, route running ability and talent to absolutely be a starter for this team in 2022, even with Kayshon Boutte set to return from that ankle injury.
It didn't take long for Nabers to adjust to the speed of the college game either, becoming a consistent part of the rotation at the very start of SEC play. He's been battled tested for a year and knows what the college game looks like, as do the rest of his freshmen counterparts at receiver.
Nabers is going to be hard to keep off the field if he makes the kind of jump that his obvious talent and potential warrant. If there's one position group to feel great about heading into this offseason, it's the receivers as the same kind of big leap could happen from any number of players, including Thomas, Hilton or Bech.
Maason Smith (DE)
The talent just jumps off the screen when watching Smith line up on the defensive line. A bendy athlete capable of playing anywhere along the defensive line, Smith is poised to be a huge leader for this defense next season alongside BJ Ojulari.
Where this defense's strengths will lie is up front and Smith being healthy and another offseason in the LSU facilities to continue working on his game will be a major benefit for the Tigers in 2022. He missed four games this season and recorded 19 tackles, five of which went for either a loss or a sack.
It was a very precarious position for the freshman to be put in so early in his career, starting the season on the inside and then being forced to the outside with the injuries to Ali Gaye and Andre Anthony. But there were flashes in both spots that led you to believe the future is very bright for Smith in Baton Rouge.
Dwight McGlothern (CB)
This is McGlothern's secondary next season. After being thrown into the fire early in the season due to injuries to Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks, the sophomore definitely rose to the occasion.
Over the final half of the season, his play was arguably among the most impressive on the entire defense, being asked to cover the opponent's top weapon the majority of the time. McGlothern had standout performances against Florida and Alabama, staying very consistent for the majority of the season as one of the only healthy cornerbacks.
He recorded six passes defended and an interception he returned for a touchdown against the Gators in a dominant performance from the purple and gold. At 6-foot-2, McGlothern is among the bigger defensive backs on the roster and his play down the stretch certainly warranted certain level of expectations as the next No. 1 cornerback for this storied position group.