This better be good.
With middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith and safety Tre’Davious White deciding to return to LSU for their senior seasons, it’s hard to imagine the Tigers could be any richer heading into the 2016 season unless they’d nabbed a piece of that mega Powerball prize last week.
Their return means LSU has 18 starters coming back on offense and defense. Eighteen. It wasn’t that long ago when it seemed the Tigers were losing 18 juniors a year to the NFL draft.
LSU brings back 100 percent of its rushing offense, 100 percent of its passing offense (such as it is) and 93.5 percent of its receiving yards. On defense, the Tigers lose only 20 percent of their tackles and 17.7 percent of their sacks. In all, LSU will have 17 seniors who have started at least one game in their careers.
Footballs take funny bounces, but if LSU’s fortunes were a ball, it would have gone from scuttling along the ground to leaping over the crossbar.
Remember, oh, two months ago, when Les Miles was on the endangered list, a coaching desperado as his Tigers suffered through a three-game meltdown? Then came an 11th-hour reprieve, wins over Texas A&M and Texas Tech, what seems to be an upgrade at defensive coordinator with Dave Aranda, a stellar recruiting class on the assembly line and now a flood of potential NFL draft picks deciding to stay.
Sure, there have been losses. It’s college. Someone is always moving on. Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson finally got the head coaching job he sought for so long at UTSA. Offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins is definitely following senior tackle Vadal Alexander to the NFL, the news coming Tuesday that he has hired an agent and officially closed the door to any reconsiderations of pulling his draft paperwork.
Despite that, LSU returns a surfeit of talent and experience for 2016 beyond what anyone could have imagined.
Now, the Tigers need to show a return on everyone’s investment. The investment in continuing the Miles regime. The investment of players like Beckwith, a must-have returnee for the Tigers, who would have been gutted at linebacker without him, and White, Travin Dural and Christian LaCouture. The investment of Leonard Fournette and his boundless talent, about to streak across the college football skies one more time.
There are no excuses. Miles, who must be credited with keeping so many juniors in the fold, may need a 10-win season to cool the heat on his coaching seat. He should get it. With this many guys returning, there’s not much reason why he shouldn’t. On paper, even with questions at quarterback, this should be LSU’s best team since 2011.
They’re putting the band back together. It’s up to the Tigers to play a sweet tune.
Offer for Scott is great
Word of LSU’s scholarship offer to Lindsey Scott is not only outstanding news for the Zachary quarterback but LSU’s recruiting as a whole.
Though LSU is fighting to finish with the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, its lack of a quarterback since Feleipe Franks defected to Florida (where he is an early enrollee) threatened to turn LSU’s Danish of a recruiting haul into a doughnut.
Scott was there all the time, but an offer from LSU was not for the longest time because of his lack of height: 5-foot-11. Apparently, that all changed Tuesday after a lengthy visit with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Picture the Dan Devine character in “Rudy” finally signaling an assistant coach to allow the pint-sized walk-on to get in the game.
If Scott does become a Tiger, no one is going to look out on the field this fall and mistake him for the second coming of JaMarcus Russell in terms of physical stature. But sometimes coaches, especially in the near NFL-ness of the Southeastern Conference, can get too caught up in heights and weights and 40-yard dash times.
As the old saying goes, you can’t measure heart. You can’t measure desire. You can’t measure football savvy. It is those qualities that allow a Drew Brees to stare Cam Newton in the eye even when by height it’s not a contest.
Scott may be closer in stature to Doug Flutie than Jameis Winston, but while Louisiana’s Mr. Football for 2015 isn’t tall by his sport’s standards, he is a winner.
Scott may one day challenge for LSU’s starting job. He may never play a meaningful down. But the Tigers need a quarterback in this year’s class, and Scott needs a college home. For now, that’s enough to make this the right situation for both.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.