LSU’s offense will get another key piece back as John Emery is returning for another season with the Tigers after deciding not to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. The running back room will be strong for LSU heading into the offseason as they will retain the same backfield that was featured in 2022. Emery, Josh Williams, Noah Cain and Armoni Goodwin make up the nucleus of the running back committee. The Tigers will be returning most of their offensive production from this season that will create optimism around the LSU faithful that LSU can once again compete for an SEC Championship.
John Emery’s Career at LSU:
Emery was one of the most sought out recruits coming out of high school and was considered one of the top five running backs in the Class of 2019. The St. Rose, Louisiana native decided to stay close to home and commit to LSU. Emery’s first season was during LSU’s 2019 national championship run. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading the way, Emery saw a limited share of carries out of the backfield.
He would go on to finish his freshman season with 188 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries. Emery would also add to his stat line through the air as he caught six passes for 60 yards. He would see an uptick in production as Edwards-Helaire declared for the NFL Draft heading into the 2020 season.
Emery would be second on the team in rushing with 378 yards and three touchdowns. He would lead all running backs in receiving with 14 receptions for 73 yards. The St. Rose, Louisiana native would miss all of his junior season in 2021 as he was serving a suspension. That suspension would linger into the 2022 season where he would miss the first few weeks of the year before stepping into the Tiger backfield.
Emery had high hopes going into the 2022 season that this would finally be his breakout year with the Tigers. He would finish the 2022 season with 375 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Emery would also have 13 receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. The veteran running back would see the volume out of the backfield, but he would have issues in turning the ball over that would make having any immediate success difficult.
Assessing the Tiger Backfield Heading into the 2023 Season:
With Emery’s decision of returning to Baton Rouge for another season, the LSU running game will be loaded with talent. Not only will the Tigers be returning every running back, but they will also be getting their leading rusher from last season, Jayden Daniels. Each running back saw their fair share of carries during the season. Emery missed the first few weeks of the season that opened up the door for Goodwin and Williams to get the bulk of the workload to begin the year.
Goodwin dealt with several injuries that kept him out of the depth chart, but when he was on the field he showed burst behind a young offensive line. Godwin would finish the season with 267 yards on 45 carries with five touchdowns in only five games played. Goodwin’s injuries would open up the door for the other running backs to take a majority of the carries.
Williams took the opportunity and ran with it as the walk-on proved that he can be the starting back for the Tigers. He would go on to finish the season with 523 yards on 97 carries for six touchdowns. Alongside Williams was Cain. The Penn State transfer would get limited time on the field, but he was able to come through and find the endzone. Cain finished the year with 10 touchdowns and had 409 yards on 76 carries. He showed what he was capable of the bowl game against Purdue being able to find the open holes against the Boilermaker defense.
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