Arguably the biggest question mark for LSU this offseason doesn’t revolve around Danny Etling’s status as the team’s starting quarterback or what new offensive coordinator Matt Canada will bring to the historically, at least recently, lackluster offense. No, for a team built on its defensive identity, the status of edge rusher Arden Key looms larger than any other component heading into fall camp.

Since breaking the school’s single-season sack record last season, Key registered 12 sacks as a sophomore, LSU’s best pass rusher has been MIA since last December’s Citrus Bowl win over Louisville. He missed all of spring due to an unexplained absence, and when it was announced he had returned, Key was immediately ruled out due to a recent surgery.

Now, LSU coach Ed Orgeron reveals Key will miss the start of fall camp. During a recent speaking engagement in New Orleans, Orgeron ruled Key out for the start of fall camp without giving a specific timeline for his return according to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.

“We don’t know when he’s going to be ready, but obviously we expect him to play this year and have a great year. We won’t know (his playing status) until the end of camp,” Orgeron said.

Some have suggested Key could potentially sit out the year to save himself from injury while looking ahead to the NFL Draft. While we are likely far from that decision being made, it’s concerning that Key’s status continues to be in limbo heading into a season with so much uncertainty on the defensive side for the Tigers.

The good news for LSU is the early season schedule is as reasonable as can be expected in the SEC, with only one SEC game in the first five weeks of the season. Even if Key misses some early action, something Orgeron doesn’t expect to happen at this point, he’ll have until early October to ease back into the lineup before LSU’s trip to Gainesville.