LSU losing some of its backfield dynamic in Terrence Magee
As LSU has done throughout the last decade in Baton Rouge, the Tigers leaned heavily on their running game this year. They ran the ball nearly 69 percent of the time, yet only four running backs had carries. Two of them are leaving the team after their senior season. and one in particular will leave a gap in the backfield.
Senior Terrence Magee was far different than the other three backs in LSU’s stable, senior Kenny Hilliard and freshmen Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams. The latter three are bruisers, standing at least 6 feet tall and weighing 230 pounds or more. Magee comes in a bit smaller, listed at 5-9 and 217 pounds. While the rest of LSU’s running backs are more known for running through defenders, Magee is much more adept at skirting around them.
LSU doesn’t have much to worry about at running back. Fournette was the No. 1 recruit in the country a year ago, and he had a strong freshman season that ended with his best performance of the season. Williams proved himself a capable goal-line back , punching in three scores when called upon early in the season.
Neither, though, brings the element of elusiveness out of the backfield that Magee has. The running back was LSU’s best receiver out of the backfield by a wide margin, with 16 catches (third most on the team) for 162 yards to go along with his 545 yards on the ground, second on the team. He was equally capable of going over the middle or catching a pass in the flat.
Fournette was solid in his limited opportunities catching the ball, averaging more than 18 yards on his seven grabs this season, so there’s a chance he could grow into that pass-catching role, especially as he gets better in pass protection.
What LSU will miss with Magee more than his pass catching, though, is the change of pace he brings to the game. He’s lightning quick and has the ability to run off-tackle or up the middle.
Magee’s impact obviously goes beyond what he provides on the field. As a senior, he was chosen to wear the jersey No. 18, a sign of respect from the coaching staff and his teammates. While that kind of leadership role is more unquantifiable than on-field production, it’ll be just as vital.
LSU flashed some new tricks in the running game against Texas A&M in the season finale, including some read-option looks that were very out of the ordinary for the Tigers. If Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris gets the chance to operate in that kind of system next year, the Tigers could have a very different look to them.
Still, LSU will have to find a way to replace Magee, as well as Hilliard’s production. The only other running back on the roster this season was freshman Reshaud Henry, who didn’t see any action. LSU already has commitments from two four-star running backs, local recruits Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette, who are both built more in the Magee mold. With the way Fournette and to a less extent Williams were trusted in the running game, both players should see significant action next season.
Even with the two running back departures and some losses along the offensive line, LSU will still run the ball well next year. It just might look less diverse without Magee on hand.