Denham Springs defensive end Caleb Roddy spent much of the spring learning LSU’s defensive playbook.
And then he started on the other one.
“I’m also playing tight end,” Roddy said.
Roddy was one of more than a dozen members of LSU’s third-ranked 2016 signing class on Friday to move into The Standard, the luxury dormitories just off Nicholson Drive. He’s the lone player among them to spend the last few months learning not just one but two playbooks.
The 19th-ranked defensive end in 2016 class, Roddy is poised to work at both defensive end and tight end when summer workouts begin Monday, and he doesn’t expect that to change when preseason camp rolls around in August.
The Tigers aren’t deep at tight end – at least not in size. They’ve got five scholarship tight ends on the current roster, including incoming freshman Jamal Pettigrew. Just one of them weighs more than 250 pounds (Foster Moreau) – the result of losing 310-pounder Dillon Gordon.
The NCAA denied Gordon’s request for a fifth-year of eligibility after he played just three games of his senior season.
“They’re pretty shallow. That’s why coach wanted me early to get some reps at tight end and defensive end,” Roddy said.
It’s the first noteworthy position move regarding one of LSU’s best signing classes in school history. The Tigers funneled into The Standard building Friday, checking in with their parents or guardians and then moving into apartment-style dorm rooms in the plush building.
LSU signed 24 players. Five enrolled early in January and participated in spring practice. Two more, defensive linemen Edwin Alexander and Andre Anthony, are not expected to enroll this week because of different qualification issues.
Anthony, a four star product out of Edna Karr, confirmed his predicament with The Advocate on Friday. He expects to be eligible by August, he said. Anthony’s year-and-a-half spent at now-closed Miller-McCoy Academy in New Orleans is behind a snag with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Alexander, a St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle, will not enroll in summer classes, but the school expects him to reach eligibility by August, sources said earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the rest of the 17 signees either confirmed they’d be enrolling by Monday or confirmed it on their Twitter accounts. Classes begin Monday and summer workouts do too.
They’re a popular topic with the group of freshmen. Well, at least one specific workout is, said Donavaughn Campbell, the Ponchatoula offensive lineman.
“Everybody is buzzing about the conditioning tests, running 16 110s,” Campbell said.
Players weren’t completely sure when this test happens John Curtis offensive lineman Willie Allen said he thinks it will happen in two weeks.
The test: Players must run 16 110-yard dashes, each in 14-19 seconds, depending on their position, with a 45 second to 1 minute break. For linemen, it’s 19 seconds.
“I’m ready. Been training for those like crazy,” said Jakori Savage, a 6-foot-6, 300-pounder from Alabama.
Freshmen have been working out long before they arrived on campus this week. The signees received strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt’s spring workout plan shortly after national signing day in February.
Most of them have progressively built up their endurance to handle that sticky conditioning test coming soon – a barometer by which LSU’s staff can measure just how in shape a player is.
“Hopefully I’ll be ready,” said Glenn Logan, a 290-pound defensive tackle from Destrehan.
“From what I’ve heard, people are telling me it’s the hardest workouts they’ve ever heard of, but I’m not really intimidated,” Roddy said. “I work out enough to be conditioned to what I need to do out there. It’s going to be something I’m not used to, but I’m going to get used to it over the summer.”
He’ll get used to tight end, too. Roddy hasn’t played the position since his sophomore year of high school. He starred at defensive end over the last two seasons. That’s something he still plans to play at LSU, sliding into the 3-technique, the space between the guard and tackle where the “end” aligns in LSU’s 3-4 defense.
But that’s not the only defensive position he’ll occupy. He’ll join Arden Key and Isaiah Washington in the Buck, a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end role. At 271 pounds, Roddy says he plans to gain about 10-15 pounds over the summer. That’ll be a good weight for him to play defensive end, tight end or wherever else coaches will slide him.
“It looks pretty fun,” he said of the Buck role.
The Buck position requires a player to drop into pass coverage. A smiling Roddy already knows this. “I’ve never covered anybody,” he said.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.