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A Way Too Early Look at LSU’s 2017 Football Depth Chart

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Southern Miss v LSU Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Yesterday, Ed Orgeron was asked about potential early departures by juniors looking to head to the NFL. He noted* he would actively recruit them all, but that he knows how it goes and many already have their minds made up.

*Side Note: I love how O answers every question as if the job is his. It’s a very smart communication tactic. Listen to his interviews. He never speaks like an interim.

All that in mind, let’s take a way too early look at how the 2017 depth could look. This is all purely speculation as far NFL departures and optimism with the 2017 signing class.

QB

Danny Etling, SR.
Justin McMillan, RS. SO.
Lindsey Scott Jr., RS FR.
Lowell Narcisse, FR.
Myles Brennan, FR.

The real wild card here is Brandon Harris. My guess is he will seek transfer opportunities to a smaller school, unless he’s on path to graduate early so he can transfer to another D1 program. If the staff can find someway to keep him on the roster, he’d be a fascinating RS option. Harris has all the physical talent in the world, perhaps a new offensive coaching staff could unlock him.

The other piece here is perhaps Harris sticks it out and simply wins back the job. He’s talented enough to do so. New coaching staff is the best thing to ever happen to his LSU career, frankly. A lot will depend on what coaching changes are made.

Beyond those two, this is actually what a proper NCAA D1 QB depth chart should look like, y’all! Upper classmen starting. A couple guys in the middle for depth. And two more potential starters on their way. Finally.

RB

Derrius Guice, JR.
Darrell Williams, SR.
Nick Brossette, JR.
Lanard Fournette, RS SO.
Cam Akers, FR.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, FR.

If Leonard Fournette doesn’t go pro, his advisers and this coaching staff should be arrested for impropriety. It’s okay, though, as Guice is more than capable of shouldering the load, and Williams/Brossette will make a deadly trio of backs.

Purely projecting Akers to wind up at LSU. Would be a big coup and another deadly weapon to throw into the pack. Edwards-Helaire might shock you... he can do a lot of things.

FB

J.D. Moore, SR.
Bri-Kiethon Mouton, JR.
David Ducre, JR.
Tory Carter, FR.

Looks like Mouton’s job to lose. Ducre has yet to make any real impact. Carter is a big-bodied FB that could play in 2017.

WR

Malachi Dupre, SR.
DJ Chark, SR.
Russell Gage, SR.
Dee Anderson, SO.
Stephen Sullivan, SO.
Drake Davis, SO.
Jhamon Ausbon, FR.
Mannie Netherly, FR.

Okay, again a couple pieces of speculation here. Namely, I have Dupre returning. I think the staff will be able to convince him in a renewed passing game will bolster his draft status, which should have shrunk after a porous start to his season. Even though he’s improved, he’s going to finish with fewer than 500 receiving yards in 2016. That’s hardly a 1st round target. Alas, even I admit, he could have his heart set.

Secondly, no Jazz Ferguson. He was mysteriously handed the “violation of team rules” suspension recently and is now not appearing on the depth chart. Probably getting ahead of myself and hoping to be wrong, but doesn’t seem to be great outlook.

Assuming Dupre stays, this is a nice looking depth chart that will help LSU absorb the blow of losing Quinn, Diarse and Johnson in the offseason. Cannot afford more attrition.

TE

Foster Moreau, JR.
Jacory Washington, RS JR.
Caleb Roddy, RS. FR.
Jamal Pettigrew RS. FR.

Interesting looking depth chart. Moreau is mostly a blocker, but seen a lot of snaps. Washington has yet to see the field much, if at all. He’s a possible attrition candidate. I believe Roddy and Pettigrew both were able to RS. It’ll be interesting to see if Roddy stays at TE. Pettigrew has legit receiving skills, let’s hope the next staff takes better advantage of the talent at the position.

OT

Maea Teuhema, JR.
K.J. Malone, SR.
Toby Weathersby, JR.
Chidi Okeke, RS SO.
Austin Deculus, FR.
Seth Stewart, FR.

Those four tackles give you great options. It’s also possible Teuhema could slot inside at G as he has some this year. That’s pretty solid depth, as the top 3 all play significantly and Okeke probably has more physical gifts than any OL on the roster. Deculus could be an instant impact player if shifted inside. Stewart is a project.

OG

Will Clapp, JR.
Garrett Brumfield, JR.
Donavaughn Campbell, SO.
Adrian Magee, RS SO.
Jakori Savage, RS FR.
Willie Allen, RS FR.
Saahdiq Charles, FR.
Edward Ingram, FR.

Here you see the work Grimes has done the past few seasons. This is excellent depth, assuming no attrition. Clapp and Brumfield are your presumptive starters, unless Clapp shifts to OC. Campbell has seen snaps this year, and his disciplinary issue seemed to be silly college stuff. None of the others are proven, but that’s okay for depth. 14 players between the Guard and Tackle position is outstanding depth.

OC

Andy Dodd, SR.
Lloyd Cushenberry, RS FR.

I expect Dodd to win this job, but it’s possible someone like Clapp is shifted if the OL coach thinks that presents the best 5. Dodd has played and played decently this year. Cushenberry should start seeing snaps in 2017 as a backup.

Offensive Summary

Honestly, this looks better than I anticipated. Losing Leonard is a blow, but LSU has a more than capable backup there and return experience everywhere. Notably, their OL will return six players with starting and significant playing experience. If LSU can solve the QB dilemma, this has the potential to be a dominant offense. Never heard that one before, right?

DE

Davon Godchaux, SR.
Frank Herron, SR.
Deondre Clark, SR.
Rashard Lawrence, SO.
Glen Logan, RS. FR.
Aaron Moffitt, FR.
Justin Thomas, FR.

Godchaux is a candidate for early exit. It seems like he could use one more year of seasoning to bolster his draft status, so I’m going to hope he sticks around. Herron needs to come into his own as a SR. I suspect Rashard Lawrence will lock down one of the starting DE spots, but he can also play DT.

Clark has largely been a non factor since his true freshman year. Logan could see significant snaps in 2017. Guessing Moffitt and Thomas take RS.

DT

Greg Gilmore, SR.
Travonte Valentine, JR.
Ed Alexander, SO.
Tyler Shelvin, FR.
Neil Farrell, FR.

Gilmore has quietly emerged as a solid run defender at DT. Valentine is troubled but gifted. Hopefully they can unlock the mystery for 2017. If not, Alexander will be nipping at his heels. Shelvin has tools to play but needs to get his weight in check. He’s a powerful guy. Farrell is a guy that could play DT or DE. I imagine we will recruit more and more guys like this.

OLB

Arden Key, JR.
Isaiah Washington, JR.
Sci Martin, SO.
Andre Anthony, RS FR.
Ray Thornton, RS FR.

These four strike me as the edge players in this defense. They all have pass rush skills and are all taller, leaner types. Obviously Key is an animal to himself. Washington keeps battling injuries. Martin played in 4 games. Perhaps he’ll get one of those weird RS loopholes. Anthony never got cleared, but he could play next year if he’s taken care of himself.

ILB

Donnie Alexander, SR.
Devin White, SO.
Michael Divinity, SO.
Corey Thompson, RS. SR.
Devin Voorhies, SR.
M.J. Patterson, SR.
Patrick Queen, FR.

White has stood up and made some plays this year. I suspect he’ll lock down a starting spot. Alexander is also a key back-up. Those two make a ton of sense in the middle. Divinity could be an ILB or an OLB. I don’t think his future is set yet. He’s played decently in 2016. Corey Thompson is interesting because the staff is allowing him to take his medical RS. They aren’t trying to shuffle him out of the program, so that leads me to believe they think he can contribute.

The others are just depth. LSU needs bodies here and there is only one recruit so far.

CB

Kevin Toliver, JR.
Donte Jackson, JR.
Ed Paris, SR.
Kristian Fulton, SO.
Greedy Williams, RS. FR.
Kary Vincent, FR.
Jontre Kirklin, FR.

Donte Jackson overtook Kevin Toliver’s starting role, but I’m guessing those will be your 2017 starters. Paris is a veteran player that has played in every game this season. Quality depth. Fulton has breakout potential if Toliver’s player continues to oscillate.

S

John Battle, SR.
Jacoby Stevens, FR.
Saivion Smith, SO.
Xavier Lewis, RS SO.
Eric Monroe, RS. FR.
Grant Delpit, FR.
Cameron Lewis, RS. FR.

Battle took Jefferson’s spot and has played well. Stevens is a super recruit. I expect him to take a starting role. He’s simply going to be one of our 5 most talented DBs. Smith could slot at CB, not sure. There’s a lot of quality depth here. LSU’s defensive backfield will be loaded once again in 2017.

Defensive Summary

Replacing Beckwith and Riley will be priority no. 1 this offseason. I think Devin White is ready. I don’t know about Donnie Alexander and the rest, but I have faith in Aranda. If Godchaux leaves, LSU has to scramble a bit to fill out the DL. I don’t see any body else that logically would leave. The defensive backfield is insanely loaded. Tre White is going to leave and they aren’t going to bat an eye. This defense should be in for another great year.

Kicker

Connor Kulp, RS FR.
Jack Gonsoulin, RS SO.

New kicker next season after what seemed like a decade of Delahoussaye. Gamble is still on the roster but seems relegated to KO specialist.

Punter

Josh Growden, RS SO.

We got ourselves another good Aussie punter, y’all.

Special Teams Summary

Gotta find a PK, but Growden makes the punt game a weapon. We will also need to replace Tre as a PR, but that may be welcome at this point.

Takeaways

I really thought 2016 was the boom or bust year for LSU. But that’s when you expect Harris, Fournette, Dupre, Adams and others to be superstars and all go in the 1st round. Instead, it became just Fournette and Adams. LSU could wind up returning a ton. Losing Beckwith and Riley both in the middle feels like the area of most difficulty to replace. Then again, last November we’d have been wondering who would possibly play ILB next to Beckwith.

2017 LSU should be loaded once again.