Five New Storylines to Follow During LSU Spring Football

LSU spring football begins this week and there are a lot of storylines to follow as the 2024 version of Brian Kelly’s Tigers will feature not only brand new players, but brand new assistant coaches to the forefront. Because of that, spring football will bring a lot more questions than answers when it comes to how this team would look. The Tigers’ first practice will be on Tuesday while the media’s first viewing of the team will be on Thursday. To start the conversation among LSU Tiger football fans, here are five storylines that I will be keeping my eye on all the way up until the spring game on Saturday, April 13th.

1. It is Garrett Nussmeier’s show now!

After spending the last two years being Jayden Daniels’ backup, it is now Garrett Nussmeier’s time to shine. He will get all of the first team reps throughout spring and he will do so under new coordinators in his quarterback coach Joe Sloan and wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton. In any other situation, quarterbacks would be intimidated trying to fill in the shoes of Heisman Trophy winner and early NFL draft pick Jayden Daniels, but Nussmeier has shown plenty of flashes of what he could do in starting action already when given the chance whether it was in the SEC championship game two seasons ago against Georgia or in a MVP performance in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Wisconsin this past season. It is no doubt that this is Nussmeier’s offense now, but the depth behind him is another storyline within itself so it will be just as interesting to see who separates themselves as being the number two option if something were to happen to the Tigers’ gunslinger. Despite losing a Heisman Trophy winner at the controls, the expectations at the quarterback position are still pretty high knowing the arm talent, confidence, and the fact that he has shown to be highly productive against top competition when given an opportunity. Garrett Nussmeier will indeed have that opportunity starting this spring.

LSU QB Garrett Nussmeier (13) (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

2. What role Harold Perkins will play in Blake Baker’s defense?

LSU’s offense had one of the most incredibly productive seasons in college football history last season led by Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels at the helm. Unfortunately, the defense was one of the worst historically in program history last fall. Because of that, Brian Kelly had to make a change at defensive coordinator as he hired Missouri defensive coordinator Blake Baker in January. What strikes most about Baker was that he has helped mold some of the best linebackers in the country including Damone Clark, who became an All-American under Baker’s tutelage when he was the LSU linebackers coach in 2021. Now, Baker is back in Baton Rouge as the full-time defensive play caller, and will get the chance to move around one of the country’s best defensive players in Harold Perkins. A lot of eyes will be on the former freshman All-American in 2024 after he moved in from being a primary pass rusher to a middle linebacker. Head Coach Brian Kelly has stated that Perkins will continue to play inside linebacker after having some growing pains last fall. Still, the most intriguing part about LSU’s star defender is how Blake Baker will incorporate Perkins not only on the inside, but also on the edge where he is extremely dangerous, but if there is somebody that can do it, Baker is certainly that candidate.

LSU LB Harold Perkins (4) (Photo taken by Jason Saucier)

3. Who is going to be WR1?

The quarterback position is not the only place where the Tigers will have to replace a star, but at the wide receiver position, the LSU offense will need to replace two players that will be first round draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft in All-SEC selections Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. The talent at the wide receiver position is unquestionable, but what is questionable is which of Garrett Nussmeier’s options will be the number one guy. The leading candidate is Kyren Lacy, who was WR3 last fall. Lacy showed plenty of flashes, especially after the catch in which he thrives at as he ended last season with 30 catches for 558 yards and seven touchdowns. Lacy did struggle with drops last season, but if he can show in the spring and fall that he can become more consistent in catching the football, he can be a WR1. Another receiving option that could be that guy is Chris Hilton Jr. Like Nussmeier, this could finally be Hilton’s chance to shine. Watching Nussmeier and Hilton practice in the spring and fall against the defense last year, both players have really good chemistry and can connect on the deep passing attack. Similar to Lacy, if Hilton can be more consistent and avoid the injury bug, he can be set for a huge season, Then, there are the transfers in Liberty transfer CJ Daniels and Mississippi State transfer Zavion Thomas, who are both proven players throughout their careers that could step up big. Add in former fiver stars Shelton Sampson Jr. and Aaron Anderson along with other talented young guys like Kyle Parker and Khai Prean, this is a deep position group already. Not to mention, the tight end position is incredibly deep as well led by Mason Taylor and will most likely be used more this season because of it. The options are there, but the question is which of those options could step up to be the stars in this offense just like the duo of Nabers and Thomas last fall.

LSU WR Kyren Lacy (2) (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

4. Corey Raymond makes his return back to LSU.

After helping form and mold LSU into what they are now known as DBU, Corey Raymond makes his return back to LSU as the defensive backs coach in order to help restore the pride back to the backend of the Tigers’ defense. He will do so with a lot of new faces and names in order to do so. As the Tigers have been doing so since Brian Kelly has arrived to LSU, the coaches have been heavily involved with the transfer portal in order to help elevate the talent in the secondary. It worked two seasons ago, but it didn’t work last season. The Tigers like to return that formula that helped them reach the SEC Championship Game in Brian Kelly’s first season. Through the portal, former Auburn safety Austin Ausberry, former Texas A&M safety Jardin Gilbert, and former Ohio State cornerback Jyaire Brown all decided to return to their home state and help the Tigers with much needed quality depth. Cornerback was razor thin last season, but there are some players with experience that return in Sage Ryan, Zy Alexander, Javien Toviano, Ashton Stamps, JK Johnson, and Jeremiah Hughes along with some talented freshmen in Ju’Juan Johnson, PJ Woodland, Bernard Causey, and Wallace Foster. With Alexander being out in the spring, this will be a good chance for a veteran or a young player to make a big impression on Raymond. Same goes for the safety position as besides Major Burns, there is not a lot of proven depth there with Ryan Yaites, Dashawn McBryde, Joel Rogers, Kylin Jackson, and Matthew Langlois also at safety. Seeing Raymond working with the defensive backs will certainly be a sight for sore eyes for a lot of LSU fans.

LSU DB Major Burns (8) (Photo taken by Billy Metcalf)

5. How will LSU figure out its defensive line depth?

The transfer portal window will open back right after spring practice concludes and the first position that LSU will look at for extra help is the defensive line. Losing Mekhi Wingo, Maason Smith, and Jordan Jefferson on the interior of the Tigers defensive line to the NFL Draft is tough not only from a talent standpoint, but also a depth standpoint as Brian Kelly even stated that they will even do some cross training in the spring so that the defensive line can function during the spring. Under new defensive line coach Bo Davis, who is another respected position coach that is making his return back to LSU, there are some established names that will be expected to play a bigger role on the interior including senior leader Jacobian Guillory, Jalen Lee, and even Paris Shand, who could play end or tackle, but there is some unproven depth behind them including JUCO transfer Shone Washington, De’Myrion Johnson, and five star signee Dominick McKinley. On the edge, Saivion Jones returns and is expected to be a starter, but the question will be who is going to be the other state defensive end. The leading candidate is Dashawn Womack as the former five star from Maryland has the potential to take over games as a pass rusher. He, Bradyn Swinson, and Jaxon Howard will be the guys that could get a lot of reps on the edge. Paris Shand, Gabriel Reliford, Ahmad Breaux, and Dylan Carpenter are other names that will be getting a lot of reps because of the lack of depth. The creativity of Bo Davis and also what the Tigers will do in the portal after spring will be big to see how this group will look in the fall.

LSU DT Jacobian Guillory (90) (Photo taken by Jason Saucier)

Make sure to visit back at starting Thursday as we will have practice footage and analysis from the first spring practice viewing!