In Brian Kelly’s first year at LSU, he used the #1 transfer portal class to his advantage as that helped propel the Tigers to the SEC Championship last season. One of the players from the transfer portal that made the biggest impact on campus was defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo.
Coming from Missouri, Wingo made a smooth transition to becoming one of the best interior defensive linemen in America. After taking on a bigger role after Maason Smith’s injury, Wingo earned Third Team All-American and 2nd Team All-SEC honors with 47 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, and five quarterback hurries. Both on and off the field, it has been a smooth transition for the former Missouri Tiger.
“The transition has been smooth, and the guys back in Missouri, we still have that loving bond. I justLSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
ran into them upstairs. You know, it was all love, man. So I really enjoy seeing them. I’m happy to be at LSU. The transition has been smooth, and I’m loving Baton Rouge. Can’t complain.”
Wingo will get the opportunity to face his former team on October 7th on the road and he is looking forward to the challenge of playing against the team that he originally started his SEC career with.
“Definitely. You know, I love to come back and play in front of my home crowd, just giving those family members an opportunity to come to a game where they might not be able to make it down to Baton Rouge. I’m definitely going to need a lot of tickets for that game, and it’s going to be fun seeing my old teammates and old coaches because I still have that bond and connection withLSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
The St. Louis, Missouri native has now made his home in Baton Rouge representing the Purple and Gold now, and he loves the opportunity of running out onto the field in Tiger Stadium.
“When you walk out the tunnel and there’s 100,000 fans screaming, that’s a different atmosphere. A lot of stadiums don’t necessarily get to experience that week in, week out. There’s just an expectation and an aura when you are an LSU football player and you are stepping on that field that you have to give it all you’ve got week in, week out.”LSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
After having a great individual season and leading LSU to a surprising SEC West title last season, Wingo knows that the excitement level is high in Baton Rouge.
“You know, it’s going to be very exciting this year. We have some of the best fans in the country. You know, they’re going to come out, support, and we got some great players back. So it’s going to be a phenomenal feeling in Baton Rouge.”
“I’m looking forward to playing every game this year, but we’re focusing on week one, which is Florida State right now, because if we want to get to the end goal, which is winning a national championship, we have to focus on week by week. We have to keep all our focus on week one right now.”LSU Defensive Lienman Mekhi Wingo
One of the reasons that Wingo is optimistic about this season is the talent level he will be playing with on the defensive front headlined by his counterpart Maason Smith on the defensive line and Harold Perkins Jr. behind him at linebacker.
“I think the defensive line can be really good. Getting a guy like Maason Smith back, a guy that
can wreck a game, and Saivion Jones, this is his year to step up and really put his impact on the LSU program. Da’Shawn Womack and Jaxon Howard, they’ve come in and put the work in. Those guys are working really hard. They’re taking the coaching, and they’re going to be really good for us this year.”
“Harold Perkins is a great player, and he is going to be able to wreck a game no matter where heLSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
lines up on the field. He is great off the edge, but I’ve also watched him throughout the spring get better and better at playing more in the box. So I think he is going to be very effective for us
no matter what spot he ends up playing in.”
Despite the front seven being highly regarded as one of the best in the country, Wingo knows that there is only room for growth as a leader of the defensive front.
“To get better defensively, the team we just have to really focus in on those small details and comeLSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
together and watch a little more film together and do things of that nature. Naturally we’ve gotten better getting guys in at transfer. We have some great players leave, but I have full faith in
the guys, because we’ve brought into the program a guy like Jordan Jefferson and Paris Shand and Omar Speights. I think they’ll be phenomenal for us this year.”
Seeing both the LSU baseball team and women’s basketball team win national championships, it has added more fuel to the fire for the LSU football players to continue the championship pace.
“It’s been very exciting with the other teams winning national championships. You know, theLSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
women’s basketball and the baseball, you know, a guy like me, I’m not even a baseball fan, but I was tuned into every single LSU baseball game. We definitely want the experience and get that feeling that those guys are getting on campus and really bring more hype to LSU’s campus.”
Getting a win over SEC powerhouse Alabama last season in overtime is a glimpse to what LSU could do when competing against some of the best programs in the country, and Wingo wants to carry moments like that one into this upcoming season.
“It was very exciting to see the crowd rush the field. They had done it the previous week before, but it was nothing like that game. Just to see the excitement on our quarterback’s face and just on the team and the coach’s face to get that win. It was a great bonding moment for us, and we’re hoping toLSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
build on it this year.”
Mekhi Wingo understands what the expectations are at LSU and although there is a lot of positive noise around the program heading into the season, he understands that it is up to the team to make those expectations a reality.
“Definitely. The standard we talk about week in, week out is to win a National Championship. That’s the standard. Everyone has to understand that it’s not just going to take guys ranking us here or us believing in the hype. We’re going to have to take it week by week, practice by practice, and truly put in the work to become a National Championship team.”LSU Defensive Lineman Mekhi Wingo
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