For the first time in an awfully long time, LSU’s biggest question mark lies in its secondary.
There’s not a Corey Webster, or a Laron Landry, or a Patrick Peterson, or a Mo Claiborne, or a Tyrann Mathieu, or a Tre’Davious White, or a Jamal Adams, or a Grant Delpit, or a Derek Stingley Jr. on the roster.
In 2022 DBU is going to be DBWho. Who will step up? Who are all these new faces transferring in? Who’re those new corners and safeties coaches?
2022 LSU Secondary
|Corner||1 Sevyn Banks (5th-Year Sr.)*||6'2"/205||8||2||0||Missed five games due to injury|
|2 Mekhi Garner (Jr.)**||6'2"/217||27||7||3||1 TFL/1 Sack; All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention|
|21 Jordan Toles (Jr.)||6'1"/209||12||0||0||Missed five games due to injury|
|24 Jarrick Bernard-Converse (5th-Year Sr.)***||6'1"/205||51||11||0||1.5 Sacks/All Big-12|
|26 Damarious McGhee (Soph.)||6'0"/170||5||0||0||12 games played/1 start|
|27 Laterrance Welch (Fr.)||6'2"/187||Four-star recruit|
|29 Raydarious Jones (Jr.)||6'2"/170||9||1||0||9 games played/0 starts; 0.5 TFLs|
|39 Jaelyn Davis-Robinson (Fr.)||Three-star recruit|
|Safety||3 Greg Brooks Jr. (Sr.)****||5'10"/187||48||N/A||1||2.5 TFLs; 13 games played/11 starts|
|4 Todd Harris (6th-Year Sr.)||6'0"/200||13||1||0||8 games played/1 start|
|5 Jay Ward (Sr.)||6'2"/188||71||6||2||1 TFL/1FF; started 11 games|
|12 Derrick Davis Jr. (Soph.)||6'0"/210||2||0||0||12 games played/0 starts|
|13 Joe Foucha (5th-Year Sr.)****||5'11''/208||75||N/A||2||7.5 TFLs/1.5 sacks; started all 13 games|
|14 Matthew Langlois (Soph.)||6'0"/202||No stats||9 games played/0 starts|
|15 Sage Ryan (Rs. Fr.)||5'11"/203||6||2||0||4 games played/2 starts; missed 9 games due to injury|
|19 Jordan Allen (Fresh.)||5'11/195||Three-star recruit|
|28 Major Burns (Jr.)||6'2"/187||25||2||1||Missed eight games due to injury|
*At Ohio State
***At Oklahoma State
Now let’s be clear when talking about the 2022 LSU secondary: they are not devoid of talent nor, more importantly, experience. LSU’s not going to be trotting out an entire secondary full of incoming freshmen against Florida State, they have plenty of guys who have a ton of starting experience in the Big 10, Big 12, and SEC.
Sevyn Banks played in 36 games with 14 starts at Ohio State; Jarrick Bernard-Converse played in 51 games and started 47 straight at Oklahoma State; Mekhi Garner played in 26 games with 19 starts at ULL; Greg Brooks and Joe Foucha were both multi-year starters at Arkansas. Combine those five transfers with Jay Ward and LSU has a veteran secondary that won’t be intimidated by the bright lights of Tiger Stadium.
While we likely won’t see a depth chart until the week of the Florida State game I’d imagine that some combination of Banks/Bernard-Converse/Garner are the two boundary corners, with Greg Brooks likely being the nickel corner. Guys like Damarius McGhee, Jordan Toles, and Raydarious Jones should push for playing time while incoming true freshmen Laterrance Welch and Jaelyn Davis-Robinson can develop. Keep an eye on Welch in particular, he enrolled early and was a top-150 overall prospect in the nation.
At this point in I’d assume Joe Foucha and Jay Ward are the starting LSU safeties. Ward has played both safety and corner in his time at LSU and really took to safety. LSU recruited the top two safeties in the 2021 recruiting cycle in Sage Ryan and Derrick Davis Jr. and hopefully one—or both!—make the leap going into year two. Ryan was hampered by a hamstring throughout most of the 2021 season and was held to just four games forcing him to take a redshirt. LSU will probably lose both Foucha and Ward at the end of the year so hopefully Ryan and Davis show they’re ready to assume starting roles in 2023.
Brian Kelly and new safeties coach Kerry Cooks have a pretty deep room to work with. Todd Harris is back for a sixth season while Major Burns and Matthew Langlois are both entering year two as Tigers. Jordan Allen was a late add to LSU’s 2022 recruiting class but was a top-20 recruit in Louisiana and figures to be a key piece for the Tigers in the future.
Next to offensive line, secondary is the most make-or-break unit on this LSU team. If this secondary can perform at even an acceptable level, LSU could hit 8 or 9 wins. The Tiger pass rush could really help out the secondary too. After all, opposing QBs can’t hit receivers if they’re too busy picking themselves up off the ground.
There’s a ton of question marks surrounding the LSU secondary but the answers are right in front of our faces. The Tigers might be welcoming in a bunch of new faces, but at least these faces have plenty of experience to rely upon.