As the Tigers season opener inches closer, for some it’ll be the first time under the lights of Death Valley. For others on the 2019 LSU squad, this season will bring validation and for some, redemption. Here are a few players to keep an eye out for in the Tigers season opener.
Joe Burrow-Quarterback (senior)
When Burrow arrived on campus last summer, he was a relatively unknown commodity. That’s also how he entered Tiger stadium for the first time against Southeastern, going 10-for-20 for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
A solid debut but one Tiger fans had grown to expect. The then junior quarterback had his ups and downs during the season until it all clicked for the grand finale. Over his last two starts, Burrow completed 64% of his passes, threw for 664 yards and seven touchdowns.
The strong finish has fans and media alike wondering what’s in store for the Ohio State transfer in his final collegiate season with a new, up tempo spread offense.
LSU likely won’t break out most of its offensive schemes against Georgia Southern but it will be interesting to see how Burrow commands the offense. Teammates and coaches have raved all offseason about the improvement and Saturday will be the first glimpse of what’s to come.
Derek Stingley Jr.-Cornerback (freshman)
Not many freshmen come into their first college season with as much expectations as Stingley will undoubtedly carry this year.
The No. 1 overall player in the 2019 class is viewed as a can’t miss, generational talent that will go down as one of the many great defensive backs that have walked the grounds at LSU.
The coaching staff is holding no punches in bringing Stingley along slowly as he’s set to start at both cornerback and be the primary punt returner, a position rarely given to freshmen.
According to senior cornerback Kristian Fulton, the freshman is living up to the billing so far in practice. Playing in front of 102,000 fans on a Saturday in Death Valley is not easy but Stingley seemingly has the mental makeup to handle the large role being asked of him.
Adrian Magee- Left Guard (senior)
It's been a wild ride for Magee the last two years in the LSU program and nothing figures to change this year. After starting the season opener in 2018 against Miami, an injury forced him out of the lineup the next few games and was never able to get back on track.
Magee appeared in 10 games, starting four of them at three different positions in 2018 but should only play the left guard position in 2019. The senior was listed as the starting left guard and was practicing with first team offense in practice Tuesday. If he indeed gets the start over sophomore Chasen Hines, he will need to have productive performances week in and week out.
If Magee struggles against Georgia Southern, LSU would not be afraid to tinker with the lineup by inserting Hines at any given moment, which makes it one of the more fascinating positions to watch Saturday.
Cade York- Placekicker (freshman)
Cole Tracy would be a hard act to follow for any college kicker of any age after breaking the single year school record for field goals made in his lone season with the Tigers.
The Tigers will be sending out freshman Cade York as the heir apparent to Tracy. York was ranked a top three kicker in the country for the 2019 class and boasts a strong leg and oozes confidence.
York had a successful fall camp according to Orgeron, going 8-of-10 in one scrimmage and 7-of-9 in another including a pair of 51 yarders. But for kickers, especially freshman kickers, you don't really know what you have until a game time atmosphere.
It will be interesting to see how comfortable the coaching staff is with the freshman's range and equally interesting to see how York, like Stingley, handles the bright lights of Death Valley.
Thaddeus Moss- Tight End (junior)
Moss is entering his third year with the program after sitting out in 2017 as a transfer year and then missing all of the 2018 season with a foot injury.
The junior tight end hasn't caught a pass since 2016 when he caught six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown as a freshman at NC State. Yet when LSU released its first depth chart Monday morning, Moss was listed as the starting tight end.
"Thaddeus has had a great camp," Orgeron said. "He can block. He's big and physical, catches the ball well, is very mature. He's made some tremendous catches. He has great hands. That's why I recruited him, because of his catching ability."
Moss will likely be splitting time with senior Stephen Sullivan, who missed part of fall camp with an injury of his own. If Moss can assert himself in the passing and blocking game throughout the year, it will be one of the feel good stories of the season.