LSU Tigers quarterback Myles Brennan (15) passes the ball during the fourth quarter the 2019 Peach Bowl college football playoff semifinal game between the LSU Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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Breaking down LSU's depth chart ahead of Spring practice

Amos Morale III
March 06, 2020 - 12:52 pm

LSU is set to open spring practice Saturday with a roster that will look very different from the one that won a national championship in January.

The Tigers return several key contributors like Biletnikoff Award winning receiver Ja’Marr Chase but are also looking to replace Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow.

Fans will get their first look at the 2020 Tigers April 18 when LSU plays it Spring Scrimmage at A.W. Mumford Stadium on Southern’s campus.

Here’s a look at LSU’s depth chart heading into spring practice. 

Quarterback 

Key departure: Joe Burrow

Key returner: Myles Brennan, Peter Parrish

Newcomers: TJ Finley, Max Johnson

Junior Myles Brennan has big shoes to fill following the projected top pick in the NFL Draft Joe Burrow’s record-breaking year. Orgeron said Brennan has been phenomenal in workouts and has become more of a vocal leader the past few months.

“I’ve heard him talk to guys when we have to go back, ‘Come on man, get this done,’” Orgeron said.

Orgeron also said Brennan has been diligently studying film and showing the work ethic it takes to lead LSU’s offense.

“I think we are going to have one heck of a player,” Orgeron said. “I’ve always believed in Myles, I believe he is a championship quarterback. I believe he is going to be great for us.”

Early enrollees TJ Finley and Max Johnson will also see snaps as well as Peter Parrish.

Louisiana State Tigers running back Tyrion Davis-Price (3) salutes the fans after he ran in for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
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Running back:

Key departure: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Key returners: Chris Curry, Tyrion Davis-Price, John Emery

Edwards-Helaire declared for the NFL Draft after one of the most productive seasons a running back has had in Baton Rouge. LSU has a group of backs that will see the field this season and Orgeron said “all three are starters.” 

Curry demonstrated his ability in LSU’s College Football Playoff semifinal matchup against Oklahoma when he started in place of an injured Edwards-Helaire. Curry tallied 89 yards in that game and Orgeron compared his play style to NFL running back Marshawn Lynch. 

Davis-Price served as LSU’s primary backup last season and rushed for 290 rushing yards and six touchdowns. 

Orgeron described his other running back, Emery, as “electric.” Emery flash those traits last season rushing for 196 yards and four touchdowns on just 39 carries.

The Tigers’ head coach said he’s looking to see all three backs improve on catching the ball out of the backfield

“I don’t know if we will have one like Clyde who was that good,” Orgeron said. “You saw his combine, his routes, his angle routes, he’s phenomenal. But we got to work on it.”

 

Clemson Tigers receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs after a reception against the LSU Tigers in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
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Receiver

Key departure: Justin Jefferson

Key returners: Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall, Racey McMath

Newcomers: Trey Palmer

Jefferson had a record-breaking year for LSU, but the Tigers’ returning receivers combined to score 35 touchdowns last 2019 led by Chase who led the nation with 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Chase will wear LSU’s No. 7 this Spring and Fall and Orgeron expects the same production from the former Rummel star, despite expecting defenses to focus on him.

“He’s going to get it done,” Orgeron said. “I have no questions he’s going to get it done. We have (incoming freshman) Kayshon Boutte, he’s going to be an excellent receiver. We are still are going to be in the empty package. We are still going to throw the ball. Nothing is changing from last year.” 

 

    

Tight end

Key departures: Thaddeus Moss, Stephen Sullivan

Key returners: Jamal Pettigrew

Key newcomers: Arik Gilbert, Kole Taylor, Aaron Moffitt. 

Former St. Augustine standout Jamal Pettigrew will be get the first team reps heading into the Spring as early enrollee Arik Gilbert is out. Orgeron also said Kole Taylor and Aaron Moffitt will receive reps as the Tigers look to follow up the most productive season a tight end has had in Baton Rouge, Moss’  47-catch, 570-yard campaign. 

 

Offensive line

Key departure: Lloyd Cushenberry, Damien Lewis, Adrian Magee

Key returners: Ed Ingram, Austin Deculus 

Newcomers: Kardell Thomas, Joe Evans, Anthony Bradford

Orgeron said the LSU is a bit thin on the Offensive line heading into the Spring practices. Ed Ingram, and Austin Deculus were key contributors last season and will be again in 2020. At right guard Orgeron said frehsmen Anthony Bradford and Kardell Thomas, who missed last season with an injury will get most of the reps.

Chasen Hines “has to prove himself” at center Orgeron said and Joe Evans has moved from defensive line to the offensive line and will compete at center.

Charles Turner will work at center and play some tackle. Cameron Wire will see most of the snaps at left tackle as Dare Rosenthal, who Orgeron  “thought was having an excellent practice, is going to be an excellent tackle and play in the NFL” has left school for personal reasons. 

Rosenthal is expected to return to the team this summer but his absence will give Thomas Perry an opportunity to compete for playing time.

 

LSU Tigers nose tackle Tyler Shelvin (72) celebrates after a defensive stop against the Florida Gators during the second half at Tiger Stadium.
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Defensive line

Key departure: Rashard Lawrence, Breiden Fehoko, K’lavon Chaisson

Key returners: Tyler Shelvin, Siaki Ika, Neil Farrell, Glen Logan

Newcomers: T.K. McClendon

 

LSU is shifting to a 4-3 defense and despite loosing several key contributors from last season’s team  Orgeron believes the Tigers have a very deep group.

McLendon, a former tight end, is penciled as the starting defensive end with Jarell Cherry working as his backup. 

Tyler Shelvin returns as the Tigers starting nose tackle along with sophomore Siaki Ika, who saw playing time last season.

Glen Logan and Nelson Jenkins will both see snaps at defensive tackle. Justin Thomas and Andre Anthony are also expected to see a lot of snaps at defensive end.

LSU Tigers linebacker Damone Clark (35) tackles Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) in the first quarter in the 2019 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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Linebacker

Key departure: Patrick Queen, Jacob Phillips, Michael Divinity Jr.

Key returners: Damone Clark, Micah Baskerville

Newcomers: Ray Thornton, Marcel Brooks, Devonta Lee

 

Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville both saw playing time last season and head into Spring practice as LSU’s top returning linebackers. 

Converted pass rushers Ray Thornton and  Marcel Brooks have will work at inside linebacker as well as bringing a lot of speed to the unit.

Orgeron expects Brooks “to be a next level linebacker” once he acclimates to his new position in the defense.

Lee lined up at receiver last year but the Tigers’ coaches feel the redshirt freshman can be a special player on the defensive side of the ball.

“Watched the state championship game and Devonta Lee was the best player on defense on that field,” Orgeron said of Lee’s senior year at Amite “He was playing at receiver and he has been a good receiver here, but we felt he would be more of a linebacker. Like a Jacoby Stevens type. Big and strong and fast and he wanted to move to defense. He talked to me about it so we moved him.” 

LSU Tigers cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (24) intercepts a pass intended for Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver George Pickens (1) in the third quarter of the 2019 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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Cornerback

Key departure: Kristian Fulton

Key returners: Derek Stingley Jr., Jay Ward, Cordale Flott, Kary Vincent Jr. 

Newcomers: Elias Ricks 

Several of LSU’s true freshman saw playing time last season with consensus All-American Derek Stingley Jr. establishing himself as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks. Freshman Elias Ricks is expected to compete for the starting job opposite of Stingley but Orgeron said he will be limited this Spring.  

Jay Ward and Raydarious Jones will also work at cornerback with ward seeing snaps at nickel along with Cordale Flott who impressed during his freshman season.

Senior Kary Vincent is out of Spring ball while he runs track, an absence Orgeron boasted about.

“I like that in recruiting, especially guys who play football and guys who run track. That means you have a fast team. I would like to have the fastest team in America,” Oregon said. 

LSU Tigers safety JaCoby Stevens (3) intercepts a pass against Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond (not pictured) during the second half at Tiger Stadium.
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Safety

Key departure: Grant Delpit 

Key returners: Todd Harris, Jacoby Stevens, Maurice Hampton

Newcomer: Cameron Lewis, Jordan Toles

Defensive leader Jacoby Stevens heads into Spring as LSU’s top safety.

Hampton started some games for the Tigers last season but is out this Spring as he’s a member of LSU’s baseball team. Cameron Lewis and Jordan Toles will both see alot of work at strong safety this Spring. Toles particularly has Orgeron excited. 

“He’s got speed, he’s got burst. I can’t wait to see him put the pads on,” Orgeron said.

Harris is expected to be out for the Spring but Orgeron said he might get "couple of plays."

 

Special teams

Key departure: Blake Ferguson

Key returners: Cade York, Zach Von Rosenberg

Newcomer: Quentin Skinner

The special teams unit remains largely unchanged with the exception of deep snapper where Quentin Skinner will compete to replace Blake Ferguson who’s departed for the NFL.

 

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