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Previewing the 2017 Tigers: the Depth Chart

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A last guess at the Tigers two-deep before Coach O reveals it on Monday.

Missouri v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

We’ve rolled through our position-by-position previews. We’ve talked predictions and expectations. Saturday, LSU underwent its final preseason scrimmage game — mostly situational work and gameday protocol. Monday, Ed Orgeron will hold his first game week press conference, and provide media with a final depth chart.

Here’s a best guess at what that two-deep depth chart will look like.

Quarterback

  1. Danny Etling
  2. Myles Brennan

Academic after Orgeron announced the decision earlier this week. Etling will get the start, and I suspect a long leash for the BYU game. Don’t expect to see Brennan unless he just absolutely throws up on himself. Week two may be a different story, though.

Running Back

  1. Derrius Guice
  2. Darrel Williams

We know the story here. No. 5 will lead the way for this offense. Williams’ role will be as a reserve/late-game closer, although watch to see if Matt Canada finds some other ways to get him involved, along with the other reserve backs.

F-Back

  1. John David Moore
  2. Bry’Keithon Mouton

The fullback has always played a big role in LSU’s offense (and the collective heart of all ATVS staff members), and I don’t expect that to change much here. F-backs will move around a lot and be one of the central chess pieces to this offense. Expect both Moore and Mouton to play a role in the passing game, as each already played tight end in high school. But we may see some of the other players here get involved in the running game.

Tight End (Y)

  1. Foster Moreau
  2. Caleb Roddy

Moreau is maybe the best two-way tight end LSU has had in a decade, and should have more than a few moments as a receiver this year. Roddy is a physical blocker that the coaches love.

Wide Receiver (X/Z/Slot)

  1. D.J. Chark/Russell Gage/Derrick Dillon
  2. Stephen Sullivan/Drake Davis/Justin Jefferson

Calling my shot, based off a few conversations — Justin Jefferson will play some significant minutes for LSU this season. The top three are pretty set in stone here, and the positions — X, Z and slot will likely rotate among them. But beyond the six names here, I fully expect eight bodies to rotate through here, and everybody will have a chance touch the ball some.

Left Tackle

  1. K.J. Malone
  2. Saahdiq Charles

Malone has had this locked up almost by default due to the lack of other veteran bodies here. Charles has impressed with his feet.

Left Guard

  1. Garrett Brumfield
  2. Austin Deculus

Brumfield has had this spot on lock since the spring. Key for him is to stay healthy.

Center

  1. Will Clapp
  2. Lloyd Cushenberry

Also academic here.

Right Guard

  1. Ed Ingram
  2. Austin Deculus

Maea Teuhema is a Southeastern Lion now, but Ed Ingram has come in and won the confidence of the coaching staff, and will get the start. That’s more important than it seems, since it allows backup center Lloyd Cushenberry to stay on the bench in case Will Clapp gets hurt.

Right Tackle

  1. Toby Weathersby
  2. Adrian Magee

Weathersby is back here, and Magee sets up to be the utility player at either tackle or guard spot.

Defensive End

  1. Rashard Lawrence/Christian LaCouture
  2. Glen Logan/Frank Herron

Look for these two to line up at both the three- and five-technique positions at different times. Lawrence is expected to become a star.

Nose Tackle

  1. Greg Gilmore
  2. Ed Alexander

Well, the good news is that both players here are pretty good. The bad news is that there’s nobody else around to help them out. Alexander is still battling injuries and conditioning issues, but Gilmore is already used to playing the majority of the snaps. Don’t be surprised if there are some creative plans to mix other players in at this spot in some defensive sets.

Buck Linebacker

  1. Ray Thornton
  2. K’Lavon Chaisson

No Arden Key here, because I don’t expect him to suit up in week one. Likewise, Andre Anthony may still be hobbled as well. Look for Thornton to be the nominal “starter” while Chaisson comes in on run passing downs.

Mack Linebacker

  1. Donnie Alexander
  2. Tyler Taylor

Alexander is ready to continue his steady play from the last two games of 2016. Taylor has, reportedly, picked up the defense incredibly well.

Rover Linebacker

  1. Devin White
  2. Jacob Phillips

White is set up to be the next breakout star linebacker here. Phillips is the most physically imposing of the freshmen ‘backers.

F-Linebacker

  1. Corey Thompson
  2. Michael Divinity

Thompson is one of Aranda’s favorite players. We’ll see if that works out as well as last year’s favorite, Duke Riley.

Cornerbacks

  1. Kevin Toliver/Donte Jackson
  2. Greedy Williams/Kristian Fulton

The starters are pretty locked in here — two veterans that have all the talent in the world but need the consistency of past corners to be great. Williams will definitely rotate in. Fulton has been in the doghouse a little in camp, but we all know he has the talent, and the staff won’t give up on him.

Nickelback

  1. Kary Vincent
  2. Xavier Lewis

Nickel has become, essentially, a starting position in most defenses. Orgeron has estimated LSU plays it 85 percent of the defensive snaps. Vincent came right in and stole this position from Lewis, who had a great spring, so don’t be surprised if both play. Maybe also watch for somebody like Todd Harris to sub in from time to time.

Safeties

  1. John Battle/Grant Delpit
  2. Eric Monroe/Ed Paris

A camp injury to Paris gave Delpit an edge here, and I have a feeling he’ll see the majority of the snaps unless he struggles. I do expect a pretty steady rotation of all four here. The two safety spots are relatively interchangeable in Aranda’s defense, so look for multiple combinations of this group.

Specialists

  • Punter: Josh Growden
  • Kicker: Jack Gonsoulin
  • Punt Returner: Donte Jackson
  • Kick Returner: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Growden is academic, and the returners have been named by Coach O in recent pressers. Somebody will join Edwards-Helaire back there but I expect him to be the primary. Davis and Dillon have practiced in the role in the past, so they seem like solid bets.