LSU football, which has been known for giving the prestigious #7 jersey to some of its most explosive players in history including Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette, DJ Chark, Grant Delpit, JaCoby Stevens, Derek Stingley and Kayshon Boutte, has been given to an unexpected player at an unexpected position, and that is offensive lineman Will Campbell.
The Tigers have gone through this route before as in 2019, center Lloyd Cushenberry was chosen to represent the team’s other prestigious #18 jersey number. Because of NCAA uniform rules, offensive linemen are only allowed to wear jersey numbers 50-79 so like Cushenberry, Campbell will wear a #7 patch on his #66 jersey this season.
As a true freshman, the former five star prospect from Neville High School in Monroe, Louisiana lived up to the billing as he was one of the Tigers’ best players last season by starting every game and making 2nd Team All-SEC and Freshman All-American last fall.
He and Emery Jones made up the first starting freshmen tackle tandem in LSU history, and were elite doing so. The 6’6, 325 pound prospect was dominant last year as he was penalized only once and allowed only three sacks. As great as he was last season, he may even be better this season as Campbell arguably had the most dominant fall camp.
LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly commented on this surprising development about giving a jersey number, which has been known for skill position players, to an offensive lineman.
“The number 7 jersey tradition is unique and special to this program and worn by some of the greatest players to wear the Purple and Gold. We want to build upon that tradition and honor the best player on our team who is from the state of Louisiana. Will Campbell has made such an impact to our team in such a short time and embodies the qualities to join the legacy of the players that have come before him.”LSU HC Brian Kelly on choosing Will Campbell as the number 7 jersey
When it comes to the number 18 jersey, the Tigers went more conventional by choosing Mekhi Wingo to represent the coveted number that represents leadership in the program. There have been many Tiger greats to wear the number including Matt Mauck, Jacob Hester, Richard Dickson, Richard Murphy, Brandon Taylor, Bennie Logan, Lamin Barrow, Terrence Magee, Tre’Davious White, J.D. Moore, Christian LaCouture, Foster Moreau, K’Lavon Chaisson, Cushenberry, Chris Curry, Damone Clark, Avery Atkins, and most recently, BJ Ojulari.
Like Campbell, Wingo stepped up big for the Tigers after Maason Smith went down with a torn ACL injury. The Missouri transfer had an All-American season in his first season in Baton Rouge as he had 47 total tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, a forced fumble, and four pass breakups. The 6’1, 295 pound defensive lineman is one of the best defensive linemen in the country, but his leadership off the field has helped him earn that honor.
“The number 18 is the player who brings all those traits of someone who leads in an extraordinary manner. The attention to detail, great focus, represents the program in a positive way in the classroom, in the community, and on the field.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on the #18 jersey
Having two linemen represent two of LSU’s most famous numbers shows the attention to detail that the program shows towards the line of scrimmage and how important their role is in order for the Bayou Bengals to be competing for championships.