HOOVER, Ala. — Arden Key’s recovery from May shoulder surgery will extend into August.
LSU’s All-America and record-setting edge rusher will miss the start of preseason camp, coach Ed Orgeron said Monday during the Tigers’ spin through Southeastern Conference media days. His rehabilitation could extend into the season, the coach suggested.
The Tigers open the season against BYU in Houston on Sept. 2 before hosting Chattanooga in the home opener. They travel to Mississippi State on Sept. 16 for their SEC opener.
Key, a Georgia native and junior whom many expect to be a first-round NFL draft pick next year, should return by LSU’s game against State, the coach said.
“We can hold Arden out. If he’s ready for the first game, he’ll be ready. If he’s not, he’s not,” Orgeron said. “I think that’s going to be week by week, whether he’s ready or not.”
Key missed spring practice while taking a leave from the team for what the school referred to as “personal reasons.” He had surgery on the shoulder upon returning to the squad in late May.
Key played with the injured shoulder, Orgeron said, for much of last season. It progressively got worse. He appeared to aggravate it in the home loss at Florida and wore a protective brace around the left shoulder in the win over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl.
The Tigers report for camp July 30 and begin drills July 31, an earlier-than-normal start date. With the elimination of two-a-days, the NCAA allowed schools to have an extra week of camp.
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Etling nearing 100 percent
Quarterback Danny Etling is nearing full strength and should be healthy by the time camp begins, Orgeron said.
Etling had back surgery two days after LSU’s spring game April 24. Already, players are noticing a difference in the presumed starting quarterback.
“He’s throwing a lot better, a lot smoother,” running back Derrius Guice said Monday. “He looks more natural out there. Past year, looked like a robot trying to force everything.”
Receiver D.J. Chark saw a change right away. The quarterback played all of last season with the injured back, which he suffered just before the season opener.
“He can put more power on the ball when he needs to,” Chark said. “First time I was catching with him, I was expecting him to loaf, and he threw it real hard. I was like, ‘Whoa. You don’t have to show me all your strength right now.’ ”
Etling, a fifth-year senior, would be the starter if the season opener were this week, Orgeron said Monday. The coach still expects to hold an open quarterback competition during camp; he has not seen freshman Myles Brennan practice.
Orgeron at first planned to bring Etling, not Chark, to media days, he said. Chark replaced the quarterback, in part because of Etling’s busy spring and summer. He has already spoke at media events at the SEC Spring Meeting in Destin, Florida, and at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux.
“I talked to Danny. I said, ‘Danny, how about we let DJ come?' ” Orgeron recalled. “He said, ‘Coach, I’d love DJ to go. Would be a great experience.’ ”
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Shelvin expected during camp
Tyler Shelvin, LSU’s lone signee who has not arrived on campus, should be in Baton Rouge at some point during preseason camp.
The Lafayette native and decorated nose guard is expected to get cleared in early August, Orgeron said. He has spent the summer completing courses for his transition from high school.
“I don’t know if he’s going to be cleared by the start of camp, but he should be cleared,” Orgeron said. “His weight is down to 323, last I checked. I got to check every week and make sure. His academics are on course, but then again, he’s not going to be finished with his correspondence courses until the last week of July. That takes, sometimes, two, three (days), a week to be eligible in the clearinghouse. So it may take a week into training camp before he’s ready.”
Watch list watch
Three LSU players landed on two national award watch lists announced Monday.
Key and cornerback Kevin Toliver were named to the Bednarik Award watch list. That award goes to the nation’s best defensive player.
Key and Guice were named to the Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell is presented to the nation’s best all-around player.
Etling is a nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team.
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron opened his SEC media days remarks on Monday with a request for…