Brian Kelly is coming off a successful first season with the LSU Tigers as they were able to defy all odds to become the SEC West Champions and reach the 10-win mark since the 2019 season. There will be a lot of optimism around Baton Rouge as we head into the new season in 2023 as LSU will be returning valuable production on both sides of the ball. According to Bill Connelly, three factors went into the rankings and that is returning production, recent recruiting and recent history. The Tigers found themselves at the No. 7 spot of ESPN’s SP+ Rankings for the 2023 season.
“One of our analysts ranked the Tigers No. 5 on his way too-early preseason ballot last month and it’s easy to see why–LSU is right up there with Alabama and Georgia in terms of overall talent at the top of the SEC ahead of Brian Kelly’s second campaign. Not only is the quarterback room stacked with Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier back, but there’s considerable depth at the wide receiver and the Tigers go several deep off the edge. Linebacker Harold Perkins is our preseason frontrunner for the SEC defensive player of the year honor.”
LSU’s Returning Production on Offense and Defense:
LSU’s offense will be getting most of their production back as the Tigers will kickoff their 2023 season in Orlando against Florida State. The purple and gold will be loaded in the quarterback room with Jayden Daniels returning to Baton Rouge for his senior season. Along with Daniels, Garrett Nussmeier will be more involved in the quarterback room with the news of Walker Howard transferring to Ole Miss.
The Tigers will be getting all of their running backs returning this season as John Emery announced that he was coming back for his senior season. Along with Emery, Josh Williams, Noah Cain and Armoni Goodwin will be the frontrunners to get a majority of the carries.
Not only will the running back get most of their core back, but the receiving core will still be strong even with several guys leaving for the NFL Draft. The Tigers lost Kayshon Boutte and Jaray Jenkins to the NFL Draft. Jack Bech transferred to TCU as other guys were starting to pass him up in the depth chart.
Malik Nabers will be look to continue his momentum from a breakout season in 2022 as he became the clear WR1 for LSU. Other notable wide receivers that will return are Kyren Lacy and Brian Thomas. Notable freshman tight end Mason Taylor made a name for himself and will continue to be an important factor in the Tiger passing game.
A season ago, the LSU offensive line was in question mark, but it will be one of LSU’s strengths heading into the 2023 season. Will Campbell and Emery Jones emerged as important factors in the trenches during their freshman season. The Tigers will have to fill the shoes of Anthony Bradford as he declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Young stars came to life on the LSU defense, including the most notable Harold Perkins. Perkins became a leader for the Tiger defense and will continue to be one of the best overall defenders in the country. LSU lost key starters on the defensive line as Ali Gaye and BJ Ojulari heading to the next level. The Tigers will also have to replace Micah Baskerville, but look for Greg Penn III to fill in those shoes along with the additions made through the transfer portal.
There is good news for the Tiger defensive front as Maason Smith will return from injury and Mekhi Wingo stepped up in a pivotal role due to Smith’s absence throughout the season. Not only will the defensive line lose production, but LSU’s secondary took a hit in the production that will be lost heading into the new season.
LSU had to turn their attention to the transfer portal to fill some of the holes that they lost in the offseason. Mekhi Garner, Jay Ward and Jarick Bernard-Converse wil head to the NFL. The Tigers will be returning notable starter in the secondary in Greg Brooks.
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