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Preview: LSU Running Back Depth Heading Into Fall Camp

Tigers return John Emery, add Penn State transfer Noah Cain to deep running back room
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With the start of fall camp this week, LSU will be looking to solidify their starters over the next few weeks. The Tigers offense looks to be a lethal component to their success in 2022, but specifically their skill position groups. The wide receiver depth of this squad is well-known, but what about the state of the running backs?

This room is now at full strength, adding Penn State transfer Noah Cain to the roster this summer after announcing his transfer in the spring. Returning John Emery after being ineligible in 2021, this position group looks poised for a breakout season. Not to mention Oklahoma transfer Kevontre Bradford ready to take the next step.

Here’s a look at who will be competing for RB1 duties during fall camp:

John Emery - Senior

Emery ended camp looking like a true RB1 for the Tigers. After missing the 2021 season due to academics, this new coaching staff has the chance to really get Emery prepared both mentally and physically for a breakout season.

Coming into spring, his entire body and demeanor changed. Looking bulked up and making smart decisions on the football field, Emery has all the makings of being the Tigers starter in their season opener against Florida State.

If Emery can stay on this trajectory and continue improving rather quickly, there is no reason why he can’t live up to the lofty expectations people had on him out of high school. The former five-star recruit has shown flashes of greatness over his time with the Tigers, but this could be the year where he puts it all together.

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Noah Cain - Junior

The first-year Tiger and Penn State transfer comes to Baton Rouge with this coaching staff expecting big things. Throughout his stint in Happy Valley, Cain accumulated 806 rushing yards for 12 touchdowns along with 26 catches and 166 receiving yards in 24 games with the Nittany Lions.

The former Big10 standout has the experience and volume to make a push as the Tigers starter this season with lack of volume from this unit. Mixing Cain’s power back ability going downfield with his finesse moves to shake defenders at the line of scrimmage makes him the most complete running back for the Tigers. Each back for LSU brings their own different skill sets, but none as prepared for day one like Cain.

Cain and Emery could make for quite the one-two punch for LSU this upcoming season with both providing different elements to the offense. With Cain coming to Death Valley over the summer rather than spring, he’ll certainly have some work to do.

Related: Instant Impact Transfers in LSU Secondary 

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Kevontre Bradford - Junior

The former four-star recruit transferred out of LSU to Oklahoma quickly into his college career, but after things not working out with the Sooners, Bradford packed his bags and came back home to the Tigers.

Bradford is a special back, bringing a different element to this group. As versatile as they come, he proved what he is capable of during the LSU spring game. With many people assuming Emery or Cain will be making a strong push for RB1, don’t count out Bradford.

Still looking to have that true breakout season, 2022 could be a year where Bradford takes significant snaps. Look for the Oklahoma transfer to step in when his name is called and provide head coach Brian Kelly with key reps.

Armoni Goodwin - Sophomore

One of the eye-openers during spring camp, Goodwin put an incredible stretch of days together to close out camp, really shining during the Tigers spring game. Taking over at times with his shiftiness had many thinking he could take the next step this season.

In a running back room filled with a few savvy veterans, it’ll be a challenge for Goodwin to receive starting duties, but it’s hard to rule him out after the jump he has made from his first year in Baton Rouge to now.

A quick, twitchy back who uses his speed to his advantage, keep Goodwin on your radar as fall camp arrives. A player who has all the makings of the next great out of LSU, it’ll be in due time until we see him shine.

Related: LSU's Plan of Attack on Recruiting Trail, Strategy Going Forward 

Josh Williams - Junior

The former walk-on has seen his number called on multiple occasions, always providing the Tigers with key snaps when needed. Williams appeared in 13 games for the Tigers in 2021, showing true power back abilities.

In a loaded running back room that could see both Emery and Cain as the starters, Williams is capable of doing the dirty work for this team, coming in at selective moments to provide big reps.

Look for Williams to be a power back at times when the Tigers need him most. Loyal to the process, he’s never run away from the grind. Earning a scholarship during his time with LSU, Williams will come into this season with a chip on his shoulder as he looks to earn playing time in 2022.