LSU football season preview 2020: Record predictions, depth chart analysis, breakout players

Ed Orgeron, LSU Tigers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Ed Orgeron, LSU Tigers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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LSU football
Derek Stingley Jr., LSU football (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

LSU football projected depth chart

QB: Myles Brennan, RS Junior | Max Johnson, Freshman

Brennan will be compared to Joe Burrow all season, which isn’t fair considering what the latter accomplished in the 2019 season. Having said that, the former 4-star recruit comes into an offense that should still be extremely friendly to the quarterback, both in terms of design and the weapons around him. Even if Brennan is 50-60 percent of what Burrow was, that could be a huge plus for the Tigers this season.

RB: Chris Curry, RS Sophomore | Tyrion Davis-Price, Sophomore | John Emery, Sophomore

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire gone, don’t expect just one running back to replace him. Curry should be the lead back after a strong performance late last season but Davis-Price and Emery are both extremely talented prospects who should not just get touches but be effective when they get work as well.

WR: Terrace Marshall Jr., Junior | Jaray Jenkins, RS Sophomore
WR: Trey Palmer, Sophomore | Jontre Kirklin, Senior

Losing Chase is an absolutely crushing loss for the Tigers as he was the best receiver in the nation and would have been a security blanket for Brennan. Marshall, a former 5-star who’s now healthy, should assume No. 1 duties. Palmer and Kirklin could be key contributors in this group as well as there are plenty of open targets to claim in the passing game.

TE: Arik Gilbert, Freshman | Tory Carter, Senior

Though Gilbert is a freshman entering college football after a shortened offseason, his talent is undeniable. Orgeron has done nothing but sing the tight end’s praises heading into the 2020 season and, with a need for pass-catchers to emerge, Gilbert figures to be as good of a target as anyone.

LT: Dave Rosenthal, RS Sophomore | Cameron Wire, RS Sophomore
LG: Ed Ingram, Junior | Kardell Thomas, RS Freshman
C: Liam Shanahan, Grad Transfer | Joseph Evans, Freshman
RG: Chasen Hines, Junior | Anthony Bradford, RS Freshman
RT: Austin Deculus, Senior | Thomas Perry, RS Freshman

Deculus is the only returning starter from last year’s elite offensive line but Rosenthal played well in limited work a season ago. The big question is on the interior but the lack of experience may be overblown. This group has seen work, especially Shanahan, who transfers as a former starter for Harvard. Don’t expect the high turnover rate to greatly affect the trench play on offense.

DE: TK McLendon, RS Junior | Andre Anthony RS Senior
DL: Tyler Shelvin, RS Junior | Glen Logan, RS Senior
DL: Siaki Ika, Sophomore | Jacobian Guillory, Freshman
DE: Jarell Cherry, RS Sophomore | BJ Ojulari, Freshman

LSU will be switching to a 4-3 base front as Bo Pelini takes over as defensive coordinator but there is a ton to like about the bodies up front. Tyler Shelvin is a dominant interior force and, while we haven’t seen much of the others in this group, there is talent galore. McLendon and Ojulari, especially if the latter can compete for a starting job, have star potential.

OLB: Jabril Cox, Grad Transfer | Josh White, Freshman
MLB: Damone Clark, Junior | Antoine Sampah, Freshman
OLB: Micah Baskerville, Junior| Ray Thornton, RS Senior

A transfer from North Dakota State, Cox has the potential to be a stud for the defense in the 4-3 alignment, even with the jump in competition. The same can be true of Clark, who has promise but has simply been waiting for the opportunity to capitalize on that. The depth here is solid, albeit unproven as well.

CB: Derek Stingley Jr., Sophomore | Jay Ward, Sophomore
FS: Todd Harris Jr., RS Junior | Cameron Lewis, Senior
SS: JaCoby Stevens, Senior | Maurice Hampton Jr., Sophomore
CB: Cordale Flott, Sophomore | Eli Ricks, Freshman

Kary Vincent Jr.’s decision to opt-out does take away a talented piece of the Tigers secondary but they should still be solid. Stingley and Stevens are stars and, while variously inexperienced, Harris, Flott and Hampton are all extremely talented and possess a great deal of upside, which should keep the team as a leading candidate to be called DBU.

K: Cade York, Sophomore
P: Zach Von Rosenberg, Senior
KR: John Emery, Sophomore
PR: Trey Palmer, Sophomore

York returns after a solid freshman season handling the kicking duties and LSU can feel confident there, the same of which is true for Von Rosenberg as the punter. The return game has a few more questions, though, as it’s hard to see Derek Stingley Jr. continuing as the punt returner. Emery and Palmer, however, both possess explosive-play ability that should land them first looks in those roles.