LSU football players do not report for preseason camp until early August.
But as for most teams across the country, the Tigers' important work begins in June.
Monday marks the first day of LSU’s summer-school sessions, which run through July 26. That benchmark on the calendar also allows players to begin unorganized seven-on-seven drills, an important precursor to preseason camp.
How important? Well, every single available Tiger is expected to be enrolled in summer school, according to LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette. To date, no returning players have announced their intentions to transfer.
The only notable absence is Terrence Alexander, a graduate-transfer cornerback who cannot enroll as he is still completing his coursework towards his degree at Stanford, which operates on a quarterly system instead of semesters as LSU does.
Alexander, who prepped at John Curtis, does not graduate from the California school until June 17. He is expected to vie for playing time in the Tigers’ defensive secondary, either as a backup to sophomore All-American Greedy Williams or as a starter opposite him.
The new kid in school who is here and whom everyone is talking about is transfer quarterback Joe Burrow. The junior from Ohio State was spotted last week at one of LSU’s high school football camps interacting with some of his teammates, including junior Justin McMillan, one of the three returning quarterbacks Burrow is trying to beat out.
“Our team has embraced all transfers, all junior-college guys,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said last week during the Southeastern Conference spring meeting in Destin, Florida. “They understand there’s an opportunity, and competition makes us all better. There’s no starting quarterback at LSU right now. None’s been named. (Burrow is) going to just jump into the race. He’s going to have the opportunity to earn it just like everybody else.”
After a spring in which the Tigers’ three returning quarterbacks — McMillan, sophomore Myles Brennan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse — were unable to separate from one another, LSU brought in Burrow. A native of The Plains, Ohio, Burrow picked the Tigers over in-state Cincinnati.
“Joe is an outstanding quarterback,” Orgeron said. “He’s a game-changer and difference maker, but he’s going to have to do it here. All the things we heard about him — he’s smart and tough, got accuracy. What we saw on film, we wanted him.”
LSU opens the season Sunday, Sept. 2 against Miami (Florida) in the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by ABC.
Four LSU newcomers to watch
Joe Burrow, QB, 6-3, 215, Jr.
Those who know and have observed Burrow in high school and at Ohio State say the transfer has all the tools to be the Tigers’ starting quarterback. He has to develop chemistry and timing with his teammates leading into fall camp if he is to overcome the experience LSU’s incumbent quarterbacks have.
Kelvin Joseph, CB, 6-1, 195, Fr.
The top prospect from Baton Rouge for 2018 did not graduate early from Scotlandville Magnet, so his transition from safety to cornerback begins now. The Tigers’ need at the position is well-documented — can Joseph go from high school to starting opposite Greedy Williams in September?
Chris Curry, RB, 5-11, 200, Fr.
Unlike fellow freshman Tae Provens, who enrolled in January and took part in spring practice, Curry is on campus for the first time. To say he is walking into a vacuum at tailback is an understatement. This position is totally up for grabs, and the time is now for Curry to show he can earn the starting spot.
Cole Tracy, PK, 6-0, 185, Sr.
Orgeron has not been afraid of bringing in upper-class transfers at positions of need. Tracy, a transfer from Division II Assumption (Massachusetts) College, fits that bill. He made 27 of 29 field goals to win the 2017 Fred Mitchell Award (top kicker below FBS) and is favored to take charge of one of the most inconsistent spots on the team.