March 29, 2023
The Athletic

BATON ROUGE, La. — 4 years in the past, as a freshman in faculty LSU, Ja’Marr Chase wanted to take the subsequent step. He had fun the primary fall, taking part in huge video games with Joe Burrow on the sidelines, however solely 17 passes in 12 video games. The sport hadn’t slowed down for him but.

Then got here the Fiesta Bowl. He had an additional three weeks of coaching. He had time to work on little issues moreover recreation preparation. and towards UCFHe finally performed his exit recreation with a catch of beneath 93 yards, together with a 32-yard landing.

It was the start of the offensive crushing energy that was to return quickly.

vs LSU’s January 2 Citrus Bowl recreation Purdue It will not be essentially the most gripping matchup. Purdue performs with out his graduating head coach Jeff Brohm louisvilleand no star quarterback Aidan O’Connell and the recipient Charlie Jones. The Tigers are the 14.5-point favorites on BetMGM, so this recreation may get ugly.

However this present day the worth of those video games is usually extra concerning the likelihood to enhance than the outcome on the sphere.

LSU’s high 5 gamers withdrew from the sport — BJ Nails, Ali Gaye, Jaquelin Roy, Jaray Jenkins, Meki Garner — earlier than star receiver Kayshon Boutte Announced for the NFL Draft Wednesday night, shortly after the college stated it might not be out there for play. There can be loads of alternatives for younger gamers to face out. Add this year’s redshirt exemption states that bowls usually are not included within the four-game redshirt restrict and a couple of younger LSU participant could play with out outcomes. For others, the Citrus Bowl is an opportunity to show themselves earlier than reinforcements arrive this low season.

Here is a take a look at some Tigers who would profit essentially the most in the event that they get essentially the most out of the Citrus Bowl.

(Warning: Most of the high candidates are on the defensive, partially as a result of almost all the beginning offense is again subsequent fall.)

Wiggins is probably essentially the most thrilling participant to look at on Monday. The previous high 100 is creating an enormous buzz behind the scenes at LSU and turning right into a bodily freak, rising quick and gaining weight. He was listed as 6 ft 5,275 kilos. An LSU personnel supply stated the group is principally within the strategy of releasing Wiggins’ physique wherever he desires, and from there he’ll work out which place makes essentially the most sense.

Wiggins is carrying the crimson shirt this season, however the trophy waiver means Wiggins can play and that will not have an effect on his crimson shirt standing. And contemplating that three of LSU’s entrance 4 are out, this is a wonderful likelihood for Wiggins.

It is unclear the place Wiggins will play, however that is the enjoyable half. He is listed on LSU’s depth chart as each a jack (outer defender) and a attainable starter on the defensive facet. LSU defensive coordinator Matt Home can experiment creatively together with his outsized or internal athleticism.

However what issues is Wiggins getting huge quicks at a Energy 5 soccer recreation. That is invaluable for a younger lineman.

assuming Micah Baskerville Heading to the NFL Draft this spring, there is a spot of beginning house defenders up for grabs. However it will likely be an enchanting place to comply with. Freshman Harold Perkins would be the greatest star on protection, however when he has extra time to enhance with X’s and O’s this summer time, will he be again to a degree of true internal protection? Or will he proceed to be extra of a free-flowing outdoors participant, wreaking havoc as if he had made his personal downfall?

Sophomore Greg Penn first began with Baskerville. He went by way of some ups and downs in his first main, however turned the nook with some nice performances.

So possibly there is not any clear start line in any respect, and Perkins and Penn take it. However there is no such thing as a level that’s one hundred pc locked. Tolan is somebody who could make an announcement and tackle a task towards the Boilermakers. Highlighted by Tolan’s gaining taking part in time in some key moments towards Ole Miss and making some key stances, the workers is excessive on him. He is a terrific expertise and I’m wondering if LSU is giving him extra time towards Purdue.


At the least that ought to be talked about. starting Jayden Daniels returns for an additional season, a shock to some round LSU. Positively Daniels would be the default begin subsequent fall after LSU wins the SEC West and he is improved each week because the season progresses. Nonetheless crimson shirt Garrett Nussmeier He made himself identified to the world together with his 294-yard highlights towards him within the second half. Georgia. Nussmeier’s inventory is rising and if used appropriately, the upside is off the charts.

Brian Kelly is not the sort to blindly give somebody a start-up job. He desires competitors and has a whole lot of historical past. Notre Dame Backup beginning gamers or returning quarterbacks, even with a built-in return starter. As a group supply factors out, Kelly will push the buttons he must take advantage of his quarterback place.

I am not the one implying this drama. Daniels can clearly be a quarterback, and there is nothing fallacious with that. Possibly Nussmeier can be on the switch portal in per week. However it will likely be fascinating to see if Kelly provides each of them alternatives on the Citrus Bowl. Or possibly an actual five-star freshman Walker Howard It takes some repetitions. Regardless, it is an opportunity for quarterbacks so as to add it to their resume.

Will Garrett Nussmeier have an opportunity to show himself on the Citrus Bowl? (John David Mercer / USA At the moment)

Second Class DL Sai’vion Jones

Thus far, Jones has received essentially the most consideration among the many gamers on this group. He is been in rotation persistently and even scored a mark after his huge sack towards Kelly. Arkansas. Nonetheless, this recreation can be his first likelihood to actually emerge.

With the defensive facet Ali Gaye knocked out initially, Jones will possible begin from his final spot on the robust facet. Wiggins often is the subsequent sizzling younger factor proper now, however that was Jones, who was 6-6,250 kilos a 12 months in the past. And he is thriving properly, he seems to be an SEC-ready lineman. Additionally, notice that the LSU is newly signed arizona Switch Paris Shand to compete at that final level. LSU actually likes Shand, so Jones can do properly on Sunday and take the lead in subsequent 12 months’s competitors.

Redshirt freshman DB Sage Ryan

Ryan has performed lots in rotation and all 12 months lengthy. The previous five-star chance has been a superbly strong spare nickel and safety behind it. Jay Ward and Greg Brooks. However has Ryan confirmed himself sufficient? He’ll be a third-rate participant subsequent 12 months, and whereas Ward’s gone NFLBrooks is again. Brooks is flexible sufficient to play a security, nook or nickel that helps Ryan. However LSU has signed all 5 nook ties to date by way of the highschool and the portal. Competitors will improve there.

Ryan is in no hazard. No matter it’s, it should be within the combine. However it may additionally use a breakthrough.

Thomas has confirmed to be an excellent receiver over the previous two seasons. He is an enormous 6-4,201-pound goal who wins most one-on-one conditions. It additionally has solely 27 catches this fall, and LSU has added the dynamic Alabama switch. Aaron Anderson and Shelton Sampson Jr. and two of the highest 100 at Jalen Brown.

However it means Boutte’s gone Malik Nabers It’s the solely open high rust catcher for LSU. Thomas provides physicality and dimension, and Purdue has a weak big-game passing protection, giving up greater than 20 yards in 11.9 % of move makes an attempt, that are 109th within the nation, in keeping with TruMedia. Boutte’s departure means a larger alternative for Thomas.

Similar to Ryan, Thomas will see the sphere it doesn’t matter what occurs subsequent 12 months. However he additionally must take the subsequent step, and the Citrus Bowl may also help to lock within the third start line.

(Prime picture of Quency Wiggins: Icon Sportswire by way of John Korduner/Getty Pictures)

#LSU #gamers #win #Purdue #Citrus #Bowl

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