We can probably knock the special teams preview out quick, yeah?
LSU had a down season in 2020 but the specialists, namely Cade York and Zach Von Rosenberg were among the best at their positions and had legitimate claim to be the Groza and Guy Award Winners, meanwhile Avery Atkins continued to do what he was created for: kicking a football through the opposite end zone.
2021 LSU Place Kickers
|36 Cade York (Jr.)||6'1"/198||18||21||4-4||5-6||3-4||6-7||36-36|
|39 Ezekeal Mata (So.)||5'11"/190||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
2021 LSU Kickoff Specialists
|32 Avery Atkins (Sr.)||5'11"/214||60||46|
York became a program record with his game-winning 57-yard kick in the fog at The Swamp and earned Second-Team All-American honors last season. While he was a Groza Award semifinalist, here’s hoping 2021 is the year York takes home the award for the first time in program history.
As Zach Von Rosenberg heads off to the NFL, LSU has a hole in the punting game. But Coach Orgeron and staff appears to have filled it with true freshman Peyton Todd from West Monroe. Todd was thought of as the top punter in the 2021 cycle and is an early enrollee.
As for returners, LSU could go a number of different ways. Trey Palmer figures to be the favorite to return kicks in 2021. Last season Palmer returned a kick for a touchdown against South Carolina, the first kick return score inside Tiger Stadium since 1980.
As for returning punts Derek Stingley (much to my chagrin) seems set to be the man for the third year in a row. Stingley is dynamic with the ball in his hands, but I sincerely hope someone else handles the punt returning duties. Remember he took a knee to the head returning a punt against Arkansas which knocked him out for the rest of the game. Stingley’s the best defensive back in America, he’s too valuable to be returning punts.
We should also shoutout sophomore long snapper Quentin Skinner. The sign of an excellent long snapper is not noticing them and Skinner excelled. LSU’s been blessed with their last two snappers in Reid and Blake Ferguson and Skinner didn’t miss a beat.