3 summer arrivals who could help LSU most in 2016
Let’s face it, LSU doesn’t need a ton of immediate impact help this season.
The Tigers are loaded with returners in the offensive backfield and receiver, the defensive line and the secondary. They have one of the most experienced teams in the SEC, thanks to several seniors opting to stay in school as opposed to leaving for the NFL.
But let’s also face this fact: If there’s a true freshman ready to play, Les Miles will put him on the field. And with one of the top signing classes in 2016, there are candidates in this bunch. Let’s take a look at three new arrivals — we’re leaving out the newcomers who participated in spring practice — who are ready to make an impact in Baton Rouge.
DT Rashard Lawrence
The five-star defensive tackle from Monroe gets first mention over LSU’s other five-star recruit because he’s at a position of greater need. A 300-plus-pound big body, Lawrence could help the the Tigers ease through a transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.
Lawrence is big enough to play nose tackle and has the feet to not only be a load to move but also tough for an offensive lineman to square up on to block. He should get plenty of early looks.
CB Kristian Fulton
The other five-star recruit is at a position where LSU has some depth — Tre’Davious White, Ed Paris, Kevin Toliver and Dwayne Thomas all have chances to have very good years. But there’s no doubting the talent of Fulton, one of the elite corner prospects in the class.
Spread teams will force the Tigers to play five and six defensive backs at the same time, and most of these guys will be asked to cover 1-on-1. Fulton certainly has the ability to play that role for the Tigers.
K Connor Culp
LSU has had some kicker issues this summer. Returning starting placekicker Trent Domingue did not have his scholarship renewed and opted to transfer to Texas for his senior year. Former starter Colby Delahoussaye was injured in a tragic car accident that claimed the lives of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler earlier this month.
That means the Tigers’ true freshman kicker has a good chance at taking some important kicks for the Tigers this year. Even without the offseason issues, he stood a good chance at action. With the offseason issues, he may end up having to kick by default.
And a wildcard …
DT Tra’vonte Valentine
If LSU ends up with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College behemoth on the roster, the transition to a 3-4 defense can happen rather smoothly.
Valentine signed with LSU out of high school but never got eligible and was eventually dismissed from the team. He has played one year at MGCCC, but according to reports, he received permission from the SEC to rejoin LSU for 2016 if he passes 13 summer hours of coursework.
If Valentine is indeed back in the fold, he can combine with Lawrence to give the Tigers a couple of natural nose tackles. The Tigers played Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture at the position in the spring, but neither are particularly large.
If Valentine does arrive, his impact could be huge.