Brian Kelly’s first season at LSU was certainly a surprise to many as the Tigers went on to win the SEC West and defeat Alabama in 2022. The Tigers came out of nowhere last season and they got help from some of a lot of top contributors that also came out of nowhere including transfers and freshmen.
As the Tigers begin fall camp today, it is time to take a look at some new faces that are primed to have an immediate impact just like last year’s group of freshmen and transfers.
1. Omar Speights
Omar Speights comes to LSU for his last year of college eligibility from Oregon State where he was a 1st Team All-Pac 12 performer for the Beavers. Throughout his career in Corvalis, Speights established himself as one of the best players in the conference since his freshman year. During his four years there, he racked up 308 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and five sacks. Now, Speights will join forces with All-American candidate Harold Perkins Jr. to potentially make up one of the best linebacking duos in the country and solidify the Tigers’ front seven.
2. Aaron Anderson:
The speedy wide receiver that comes in as a transfer from Alabama returns back to the state where he was a prep star at Edna Karr High School and will try to show off his electrifying playmaking ability in Baton Rouge. Even though there is a lot of depth at the wide receiver position, Aaron Anderson’s game changing ability is too big to ignore and can make an impact not only in the slot, but the former five-star prospect could also change the game in the return game for special teams, which could be a drastic improvement this fall.
3. Ovie Oghoufo:
Ovie Oghoufo has had a journeyman like college career as he started his career at Notre Dame, transferred to Texas, and now, will take his final year of eligibility to LSU. Oghoufo will reunite with Coach Kelly to end his college career, but it was his stint at Texas where he shined the most as he started 20 games for the Longhorns with 96 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Replacing an All-SEC caliber player in BJ Ojulari is tough, but the Tigers got veteran players through the portal like Oghoufo to bring that veteran presence to the position.
4. Logan Diggs:
The Tigers’ running back room is loaded with eight players at the position, so this is expected to be a running back by committee this season, but Notre Dame transfer Logan Diggs is a leading candidate to lead the group. At 6’0, 215 pounds, Diggs is a three down back that can run between the tackles, outrun defenders on the perimeter, and is also a reliable receiver out of the backfield. Reuniting with Coach Kelly in the state where he prepped at Archbishop Rummel, Diggs could be in for a big season toting the rock.
5. Zy Alexander:
Like last season, the Tigers went through the transfer portal at the cornerback position, and although any of those additions could make this list, a player that is flying most under the radar is Zy Alexander. The FCS All-American at Southeastern Louisiana University is long, rangy, and has tremendous ball skills after having 97 tackles, 12 pass breakups, and nine interceptions including a school record six interceptions in 2021. The former Loreauville High School quarterback is coming off a good spring where he took first team reps with the defense. He is one of many transfers in the secondary that could breakout and become a main staple in the backend of the defense.
1. Javien Toviano:
With a lot of uncertainty in the secondary, there is a good chance that a freshman can take a starting spot. One freshmen that coaches have been raving about during the spring has been Javien Toviano. The four-star freshman from Arlington, Texas has not only been a standout at one position, but the 6’1, 199 pound Under Armour All-American he has excelled wherever the coaches need him to play including at cornerback, nickel, or safety.
2. Zalance Heard:
Despite Will Campbell having a freshman All-American campaign last fall, his former Neville Tiger teammate and fellow five-star Zalance Heard is confident that he will be the starting tackle at LSU. Although Campbell and Emery Jones have certainly showed that they are more than capable of manning those positions, Jones’ natural position coming out of Catholic High was at guard so there could be a scenario in which Jones can move in at guard with the two former Neville Tigers playing both tackle spots.
3. Dashawn Womack:
Dashawn Womack is a five-star signee from Baltimore, Maryland and was one of the Tigers’ biggest gems from the 2023 recruiting class. At defensive end, the Tigers are looking for a replacement to take that spot after Ali Gaye graduated. At 6’5, 270 pounds with 4.8/40 speed, Womack has the ability to have a big role early on this team after having 15 sacks and 26 tackles for loss last season as a senior. Womack was an early enrollee but did not take part for the majority of spring practice after recovering from offseason labrum surgery so it will be interesting to see how he stacks up with a deep, talented defensive line group in fall camp.
4. Ka’Morreun Pimpton:
The Tigers return one of the biggest fan favorites from last season in Mason Taylor at tight end, but behind him, are three freshmen that are fighting for a lot of playing time behind the preseason All-SEC selection. Both Coach Kelly and offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock like to use the tight ends and certainly, they are salivating to use the 6’6, 230 pound target that could be a matchup nightmare in the red zone. In his senior season, Ka’Morreun Pimpton had 49 catches with 16 of them going for touchdowns. Pimpton could certainly be another big target that the Tigers will look to in the fall, especially when the Tigers go to multiple tight end sets.
5. Whit Weeks:
The younger brother of West Weeks has followed his older brother to LSU after signing with the Tigers last year. Whit Weeks has already showed his sideline-to-sideline speed and coverage skills when he made one of the biggest highlight plays in the spring game with a pick six. Coach Matt House has also raved about his ability during spring and even though it is a star-studded group with the duo of Harold Perkins Jr. and Omar Speights leading the way, Weeks could be a nice depth piece in Coach House’s 4-2-5 defense along with Greg Penn.
As fall camp starts at LSU, make sure to keep posted with every practice report right here at Gridiron Football!