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2016 Fierce 40 Previews: #7 LSU

by DJ Boyer on Aug. 18, 2016

#7 LSU Tigers

2015 Recap:
A 9-3 campaign is kind of ho-hum in Tiger country as the #105 ranked passing attack demonstrated how a lack of diversity on offense can kill a team. The Tigers have the best college running back on the planet but if you don't have at least the threat of a consistent passing game then things get very very tough.


Coaching:
Les Miles has a title at LSU and 112 wins over 11 seasons, yet there were many questions as to whether he would be ousted before the year even ended. Miles may have spoiled the faithful in Baton Rouge but they have a man at the helm that has been there in the conference and on a national scope.Cam Cameron is back to run the offense while Dave Aranda takes over a defense that was #25 overall last season.


Offense

We just cannot stress enough the need for balance with this offense, something Cam Cameron is hoping to bring. It looks like Brandon Harris will be the starting quarterback but that is not set in stone. Danny Etling has come over after transferring from Purdue and will be ready to step in if needed. The receivers are there as Malachi Dupre is the top returning receiver but the pro prospect of the bunch is Travin Dural. Dural nearly went pro last year but his lackluster stats were a big reason why he decided to stay in school for his senior season. The offensive line lost a few big guns but the leader at center is still in school with senior Ethan Pocic, a player who has played multiple positions. The LSU line is still very talented but not quite as deep as in years past. Leonard Fournette is what makes the offense go and he along with Deshaun Watson of Clemson are the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy. Fournette led the NCAA in yards after contact last season indicating that his 230-pound frame is more muscle than fat.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Leonard Fournette RB 1st Round 2017 (early Declaration....top running back off board and Heisman Trophy frontrunner entering the season).

                                       Travin Dural WR 2nd/3rd Round 2017.


Defense

LSU has a new coordinator and the Tigers will be moving back to a traditional 4-3 front and away from the 3-4 they have run for years. The best part of this the Tigers have players up front that all started or played signifcant chunks of last season. Lewis Neal and Arden Key will play the ends and Neal and his 8 sacks led the team a season ago. Christian LaCouture and Davon Gadchaux will play the inside with significant time expected from Greg Gilmore. Kendell Beckwith is the latest dominant linebacker from LSU and his 84 tackles from last season mark the top mark for a returning player. Beckwith is the only returning starter in the bunch with most of the returning talent coming from the secondary, an aggresive secondary that will be very active in run defense and stack the box when needed. Tre'Davious White will be on the short list for top cornerback coming off the board and was another player who nearly went pro a season ago. Safety Jamal Adams may declare for the Draft as he is the #2 overall safety prospect on our list heading into the season. Rickey Jefferson returns alongside Adams and the dropoff is miniscule as LSU sports the best starting safety combo in the SEC.

Best Draft Prospects: Tre'Davious White CB 1st Round 2017.

                                      Jamal Adams S 2nd Round 2018.


Special Teams:

One thing you can count on at LSU is for them to recruit an Australian to punt the football. Jaime Keehn has graduated and in comes Aussie Josh Growden. The pipeline has worked thus far so we will give the Tigers the benefit of the doubt. Kicker Trent Dominique had good numbers but many of his kicks were very close so we are sure he has been working on his accuracy and not giving his special teams coaches heart attacks. Tre'Davious White is already a 1st round prospect at cornerback and his versatility by returning punts will only help him when the NFL Draft rolls around.


Schedule:

Another intriguing non-conference game to kick off the season will be LSU facing Wisconsin in Green Bay, so its essentially a road game. The SEC slate opens with Mississippi State at home and then Auburn on the road. Florida will be a road game and then Baton Rouge will ready themselves for back-to-back home contests with Ole Miss and Alabama.



Draft and Overall Outlook:

Over the last 10 years only Alabama has sent more players to the NFL then the LSU Tigers so talent continues to not be a problem. As far as team performance this will all be about the passing game and showing some offensive balance. If LSU can get some big plays down the field and show some sort of passing threat then Fournette should have a huge year and bring home a Heisman to Baton Rouge.

DJ Boyer