Skip to main content

Three LSU Players Who Made Biggest Jump in Spring Football

Nussmeier, Campbell show immense potential during successful spring rise

With spring ball now officially wrapped, LSU will move to the next phase of the offseason, constructing a post spring evaluation of every player on the roster. The 15 practices were enough to draw some finite points about where this team's strengths and weaknesses lie.

Here were three of the biggest winners from the spring session:

Garrett Nussmeier (QB)

There was a common belief that because Brian Kelly brought in two veterans like Myles Brennan and Jayden Daniels, there was a vision in place about what this offense could look like behind a more experienced arm. But after 15 spring practices culminating in a spring game, the redshirt freshman Nussmeier has made this battle tighter than ever heading into the summer. 

Perhaps the biggest winner of the entire spring, Nussmeier showed tremendous growth and poise in his decision making while striking a balance with his immense arm talent. Kelly heaped a ton of praise on the kind of improvement that Nussmeier has made behind center, with the primary improvement coming in taking what the defense gives him.  

“Don’t over coach it. You can be paralysis by analysis. You start to over coach that and then he starts to pull back a little bit and you lose a really good quarterback too, so you’ve got to be careful there," Kelly said. "You try to coach them on things that matter the most and that is taking great care of the football."

In his action during the spring game, Nussmeier threw for 136 yards and a touchdown while driving the offense down the field on three separate occasions that ended with the group reaching the endzone. This quarterback battle is far from reaching a final decision and Nussmeier is proving that the future of this program with him behind center, could be sooner than many anticipated. 

Will Campbell (OL)

Scroll to Continue

Read More

It would take a long, hard look to find any negatives coming out of LSU's camp where Campbell is concerned. The maturity and level of play over the course of the 15 practices was apparent and why Kelly and offensive line coach Brad Davis made the decision early on to shift him to left tackle. 

Campbell is a unique freshman talent as he approached his first several months with an aggressive mindset on building his body up. He's added 17 pounds since January and has drawn comps by some to former LSU star lineman Andrew Whitworth with the way he carries himself. 

As spring wore on, Campbell at left tackle and Charles Turner at center were the most consistent first team o-line centerpieces and having a vision for that lineman who will protect the quarterback's blind side is an important development in camp. To add even more fuel to the fire, Campbell has listened to what the narrative has been on this LSU offensive line the last few years and wants to be a part of the solution.

"It was irritating for me to hear that even though I wasn't here," Campbell said. "Definitely taking that as a chip on our shoulder, preparing each other and we'll be ready by Florida State. I just wanna come out here and go against the best. I wanna play, so I'm gonna do whatever I gotta do to get on the field."

Greg Penn (LB)

On the defensive side of the ball, while the cornerback and safety depth chart is far from decided, the linebacker consistency the Tigers got from Mike Jones and Greg Penn was another major positive. It was hard to learn a lot from the defense as they ran out really just one look against the offense all day.

But the effort and athleticism Penn showed was noticeable, putting together six tackles which was good for third on the team with 0.5 tackles for a loss. Having defensive coordinator Matt House who is also the linebackers coach has been very beneficial to a player like Penn, who has taken that next step as a player and ready to contribute in a starters like role come fall. 

"We got a lot of guys improving,” House said. “And as they show improvement, they become more comfortable and you see those personalities come out. We are building through that and I think that is a process as a unit.”