When the school announced the Kelly hire, what immediately came to my mind (after complete shock) is if Kelly could get the Offensive Line and Tight End positions up to the elite levels of our WR/DB/DL recruiting and development, then LSU could move from building a DEATH STAR every four years, to being a little more consistent year in and year out with CFP and NY6 bowl appearances. At Notre Dame, he had 7 O-Linemen drafted, mostly in the first two rounds, if we can get that going at LSU alongside our First Round talents in other spots...look out.
Kelly placed a prime focus in the portal on building back the O Line. LSU now has around 19 OLs listed on roster, which I think is critical in allowing for proper development. This allows young prospects to strengthen, mature, and master the offensive assignments over a few years. This is where Emory Jones falls in. Ideally we give him time to develop and step in as the transfers run out of eligibility. But if he earns playing time early, then folks we have a jewel on our hands
247 ranked Jones as a 4-star and the 5th best Interior Offensive Lineman for the 2022 class. He hovered on the cusp of a top 100 player in the overall rankings and earned a spot on the Under Armour All America Game. He helped lead Catholic High to two State Championships as well as another State Championship game appearance. ALL THE WHILE he was playing basketball too, which is just phenomenal to think about for a guy his size. When perusing news about him, that has become a common theme, an incredibly athletic guy for his size. This is also why you see projections showing the ability to start inside and become a prospect on the outside as well.
Apparently Jones took the phrase “growth” quite literally as 247 had him listed at 6’4” but LSUs most recent roster update has him at 6’6”. I like the initiative. But growth is the theme here. While Will Campbell looks like the next coming of Andrew Whitworth, it would be perfectly fine if Emery followed the lines of Trai Turner, Ethan Pocic and others. Time to develop, mold and master the spots they want him in. Ideally starting on the inside to then vie for Tackle positions 3 years down the line. He has the potential to be Sneaky Good and push his counterparts for time in the interior, as his film shows plenty of potential in terms of “removing people from the club”. But if he and a few of his classmates show us the true 3-4 development plan at LSU that reaped rewards for Kelly at Notre Dame, then let that cycle begin
High End: Pushes for playing time and sharpens the iron of his older teammates in the first year. Earning a spot on the interior for the next 2-3 years. Pairs up with Campbell on the left side to create the “Herman Johnson Effect” of other teams knowing where the ball is going and being able to do nothing about it. All SEC. Gets drafted in the 1st Round a year after Will Campbell does the same thing.
Low End: Has to stay 5 years
Realistic: Frazier and Shorts fill the roles in the interior while Jones earns 2nd and 3rd team PT. His develops into an interior beast with potential to fill the right tackle spot down the line.