LSU kicked off its preseason fall camp on Monday and there’s a lot that had happened. This will be a very crucial period for the Tigers as they have expectations and a primetime game against Florida State in Orlando in a few weeks that they have to prepare for.
Although there are still some questions that have to be asked about this team, some of those questions will be answered as LSU moves forward with fall camp.
Here are some of my takeaways from the media-viewing period and some players I thought stood out.
Nothing happened with the quarterbacks as it was a routine day for them. Jayden Daniels took the first-team reps with the starting receivers and worked with the first-string receivers and Garrett Nussmeier was a participant in the one-on-one segment of practice.
Rickie Collins put in some good reps as well. Although you could tell Collins was trying to clean up his throwing motion and his accuracy is all out of place, he will continue to get good reps behind Daniels and Nussmeier.
Senior running backs Josh Williams and Noah Cain got the first-team reps. After missing most of last season and spring practice due to injury., it was great to see Armoni Goodwin. Notre Dame transfer Logan Diggs looked fluid running drills and showed his quickness and explosion.
Another running back who got some good reps was Baton Rouge native and true freshman Kaleb Jackson. Jackson, who is the biggest running back of the group at 6-0, 225 pounds, showed his potential as he looked explosive in both individual and team drills.
The notable absentee from today’s practice was John Emery as he was the only player who was not there at practice. However, this is because Emery completed the last day of his internship to become eligible;e for the season and will suit up tomorrow
The LSU first-team receivers consisted of Brian Thomas, Malik Nabers, and Kyren Lacy and they all did what they were supposed to do. The second unit of Aaron Anderson, Landon Ibieta, and Chris Hilton were impressive as well. Anderson, who transferred in from Alabama this past spring, is back to being 100 percent.
The freshman receivers were able to put in some good reps as well as both Kyle Parker and Shelton Sampson performed well in their first fall practice in both individual drills and one-on-ones. Greg Clayton, Jalen Brown and Khai Prean showed potential as well, making the wide receiver room very deadly and one of the deepest in the country.
As expected, Mason Taylor got first-team reps and looked comfortable out there as he had soft hands and showed why he will be a future All-SEC, if not All-American, tight end. It also helps that he is one of Daniels’ most reliable targets.
The tight end room has gotten more depth due to LSU gaining three tight ends in the 2023 signing class Mac Markway, Ka’Mourreon Pimpton, and Jackson McGohan. Markway got second-team reps with Pimpton and McGohan following suit.
Pimpton and McGohan both looked impressive in both one-on-ones. Pimpton used his 6-6, 240-pound frame to make some great catches while Pimpton showed his speed as he burned multiple LSU defensive backs.
As expected. LSU’s starting five entering camp were Will Campbell, Garrett Dellinger, Charles Turner, Miles Frazier, and Emery Jones.
Marlon Martinez will compete with Turner for the starting job at center, according to Brian Kelly. Mason Lunsford rotated in at guard, while true freshman DJ Chester got reps at center, and Zalance Heard eventually got in at tackle. Brad Davis was as intense and hands-on as always, especially with the new faces.
Jacobian Guillory got a ton of time with the starters, further confirming that he’ll be a significant part of this interior defensive line. Mekhi Wingo and Maason Smith looked as good as we expected them to, both in individual drills and in the one-on-ones.
After those three, a ton of names got work in, with Jordan Jefferson and Fitzgerald West standing out among the crowded defensive line room. The two had some impressive flashes in one-on-ones.
At the defensive end, Saivion Jones got all of the first-team reps and showed flashes of impressive pass-rushing potential. Still, we’ll have to see how improved he is entering year three as he plays a pivotal role for the Tigers off the edge. Quency Wiggins and Dashawn Womack are both impressive as young DEs and both will make plays for the Tigers this season.
As a lot of people expected, Harold Perkins, Greg Penn and Omar Speights got most of the reps when the coaches called out the first-team defense.
Perkins was working with defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Matt House throughout the day. His development as an inside linebacker is a priority as he barely came off the field. It will be interesting to see how they develop Perkins as he was mainly a pass rusher last year.
Since the former All-Pac-12 performer Omar Speights is a seasoned veteran and this is Greg Penn’s third year as an inside linebacker, House doesn’t need to see much from them because he knows what they have in store.
The Weeks’ brothers got a lot of good reps as well as they rotated in.
The cornerbacks struggled mightily on the first day of fall camp as they often got burnt by an extremely talented receiving corps. However, this is normal as the first day of fall camp is usually without pads which greatly benefits the wide receivers and there is a whole lot of rust on the field.
Cornerbacks coach Robert Steeples focused on man coverage and working on zone drops/coverage. Because of all the new faces in the cornerback room this season, he has to figure out who he is working with. There’s a lot of work that has to be done in the next few weeks as the cornerbacks continue to develop throughout the one-on-ones and in the seven-on-seven portions.
Zy Alexander was usually first among the cornerbacks in one-on-ones and he was often paired up with star receiver Malik Nabors. Alexander looked the part as he used his size and speed to his advantage when he matched up with one of the best receivers in the country.
Moreover, there was a ton of rotation between Duce Chestnut, Denver Harris, Laterrance Welch, JK Johnson, and Jeremiah Hughes.
Although Major Burns and Greg Brooks got most of the first-team reps, true freshman Javien Toviano and Marshall transfer Andre Sam showed out. The sixth-year senior Sam was brought in due to his experience and that showed in Thursday’s practice as he looked like a man among boys with his play, no pun intended. Although Toviano is young, he is not afraid of the smoke and mirrors as he is a natural playmaker.
Sage Ryan got most of the first-team reps at nickel back and had some good reps against the slot receivers in one-on-ones. Toviano also got some reps at nickel as well. There was a lot of cross-matching and movement so it’s kind of hard to see where things stand at that position.
The freshmen (Kylin Jackson, Ryan Yaites, Ashton Stamps) didn’t get many reps today, but if you are an LSU fan you should have a lot more confidence in this position than you did five to six months ago.