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Derrius Guice leads LSU's running back depth chart. 

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG

QUARTERBACK

Starters lost (1)Brandon Harris

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling is poised to be the Tigers' starter this season.

Returning starters (1): Danny Etling

Depth chart

  • Danny Etling, RSr.
  • Justin McMillan, RSo. -OR-
  • Myles Brennan, Fr.
  • Lowell Narcisse, Fr.

Newcomers to watch

Both of the Tigers' true freshmen, Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse, were ranked in the top five nationally: Brennan as a pro-style QB and Narcisse as a dual threat. Brennan has spent camp surging up the depth chart, impressing coaches with his accuracy and arm power.

Number to know: 54.3

That’s the cumulative completion percentage for LSU’s starting quarterbacks (Anthony Jennings in 2014, Brandon Harris in 2015 and Danny Etling in 2016) over the past three seasons. In 2016, that would have ranked 96th nationally out of 128 programs.

One word: Burden

The quarterback position has dragged down LSU for a while now, specifically over the past two and a half to three years. Etling brought stability to the spot last season with his accuracy and veteran knowledge. Can he take his game to the next level?


RUNNING BACK

Returning starters (1): Derrius Guice

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Darrel Williams should see significant work behind Derrius Guice this season. 

Starters lost (1): Leonard Fournette

Depth chart

  • Derrius Guice, Jr.
  • Darrel Williams, Sr.
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Fr.
  • Nick Brossette, Jr.
  • Lanard Fournette, Jr.*
*Been limited with injury

Newcomer to watch

Former Catholic High star Clyde Edwards-Helaire made waves during preseason camp, at running back and returner. The 5-foot-8, 208-pounder was the first freshman to play varsity football in coach Dale Weiner's 29 seasons at Baton Rouge's Catholic High.

Number to know: 5

Five LSU running backs have been selected in the past five NFL drafts, including a second-round pick in Jeremy Hill (2014) and a first-round selection this year in Leonard Fournette. Kenny Hilliard, Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware were late-round picks.

One word: Strong

Outside of the secondary, this might be LSU’s strongest position over the past decade. It’ll get even stronger this season. Derrius Guice is one of the Heisman Trophy favorites, and senior Darrel Williams is expected to be heavily involved in the Tigers' plans, too.


WIDE RECEIVER

Returning starters (1): D.J. Chark

Starters lost (2): Malachi Dupre, Travin Dural

Depth chart 

  • D.J. Chark, Sr.
  • Russell Gage, Sr.
  • Derrick Dillon, RSo.
  • Stephen Sullivan, So.
  • Drake Davis, So.
  • Jacoby Stevens, Fr.
  • Mannie Netherly, Fr.
  • Justin Jefferson, Fr.
  • Racey McMath, Fr.*
  • Dee Anderson, So.*
*Been limited with injury

Newcomers to watch

Four rookies are a part of this unit, including Racey McMath, Mannie Netherly, late signee Justin Jefferson and converted safety JaCoby Stevens, who moved to receiver early in camp. McMath is thick and strong. Netherly is thin and fast, and Stevens is a pure athlete.

Number to know: 10

Excluding D.J. Chark, LSU’s receivers have caught a combined 10 passes in their careers. The production and experience faces a steep drop after the senior Chark and his 26 career catches. 

One word: Tall

Six of LSU’s 10 scholarship receivers (counting converted safety JaCoby Stevens) are listed at 6-foot-3 or taller. Stephen Sullivan and Dee Anderson are 6-6, and D.J. Chark and Drake Davis stand 6-4.


OFFENSIVE LINE

Returning starters (3): C Will Clapp, LT K.J. Malone, RT Toby Weathersby

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Will Clapp is expected to start at center for LSU this season.

Starters lost (3): RG Maea Teuhema, C Ethan Pocic, RG Josh Boutte

Depth chart

LT

  • K.J. Malone, RSr.
  • Saahdiq Charles, Fr.
  • Jakori Savage, RFr.

LG

  • Garrett Brumfield, RJr.
  • Donavaughn Campbell, So.

C

  • Will Clapp, RJr.
  • Lloyd Cushenberry, RFr.

RG

  • Lloyd Cushenberry, RFr.
  • Ed Ingram, Fr.

RT

  • Toby Weathersby, Jr.
  • Austin Deculus, Fr.
  • Adrian Magee, RSo.

Newcomer to watch

Saahdiq Charles and Ed Ingram have impressed coaches enough in camp to have Ed Orgeron saying that they've "played like starters." They might have to start. LSU's depth issues on the O-line mean these guys are one injury away from playing tackle (Charles) or guard (Ingram).

Number to know: 0

Will Clapp has taken zero snaps in a game at center. Despite that, the fourth-year junior landed on the Rimington Award watch list, awarded to the nation’s best center. Clapp moves from his spot at guard to replace Ethan Pocic as the leader of the line. 

One word: Alabama

Coach Ed Orgeron says the difference-maker in LSU’s six-game losing streak to SEC rival Alabama is the Tigers’ offensive line play. Orgeron’s focus in recruiting is on stronger, more powerful O-linemen to handle Bama’s front-seven pass rush.


H-BACK/TIGHT END

Returning starters (2): TE Foster Moreau, HB J.D. Moore

Starters lost (1): TE Colin Jeter

Depth chart

TE

  • Foster Moreau, Jr.
  • Caleb Roddy, So.
  • Jamal Pettigrew, RFr.
  • Jacory Washington, RJr.
  • Aaron Moffitt, Fr.

HB

  • J.D. Moore, RSr.
  • David Ducre, Jr.
  • Bry'Kiethon Mouton, Jr.
  • Tory Carter, Fr.

Newcomer to watch

Tory Carter is the only new guy in this position group, and he signed as one of the nation’s most highly touted fullbacks. He’s a hard-hitting Georgia native who also has versatility for this new position group in new coordinator Matt Canada’s new offense. Defensive end signee Aaron Moffitt was shifted to tight end during camp.

Number to know: 16

J.D. Moore and Foster Moreau combined for 16 receptions last season, most of them coming after Steve Ensminger replaced Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator. 

One word: Versatile

The new H-back position combines the old fullbacks and tight ends, and it expands the role of the position. H-backs can find themselves at slot receiver, in the backfield, attached to the line as a tight end or spread out wide.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.