With the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft approaching in a matter of hours, LSU has announced two players will be returning to Baton Rouge next season. Linebacker Kendell Beckwith and cornerback Tre’Davious White will come back for one more season in 2016, providing LSU with a pair of solid starters on defense to rely on once more.
“These are special guys,” LSU head coach Les Miles said in a released statement. “They have a real fondness and enjoyment for this football team. They are leaders; Kendell makes all the calls from the Mike linebacker spot and Tre’Davious wears No. 18, which has always been the mark of a leader. Decisions like this aren’t easy to make. These guys took their time, got all of the information necessary to make a real educated and quality decision.”
Miles also noted the obvious. LSU is returning a pretty loaded senior class for the first time in a while. LSU has sent plenty of talent on to the NFL, and that will still be the case, but LSU has commonly been one of the schools sending off a decent number of underclassmen through the NFL Draft process. Beckwith and White join wide receiver Travin Dural, center Ethan Pocic, defensive end Lewis Neal, defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and defensive back Rickey Jefferson in deciding to return to LSU in 2016. In LSU’s entire senior class of 2016, 12 have started at least one game for the Tigers.
“Anytime that you have a senior dominated team, you recognize that you are going to play with leaders, and guys always play their best year of football when they are most mature,” Miles said.
Also keep in mind LSU will also return running back Leonard Fournette for his junior season. LSU all of a sudden once again looks to have the kind of team that can make some real noise in the fall, especially if it is motivated to finish the job it could not in 2015. After starting 7-0 last season, LSU ran into a wall against Alabama and lost three straight games to fall from College Football Playoff lock to the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech. LSU opens the 2016 season against Wisconsin in Lambeu Field and could have a decent shot at getting to the bye week with another perfect record, which would include home wins against Mississippi State and Ole Miss in addition to road wins at Auburn and Florida. Then a chance for redemption would come on November 5 when Alabama comes to town.
Start taking a hard look at LSU. With the senior-heavy roster returning, another year for Fournette and a schedule that sees Alabama coming to Baton Rouge, there should be plenty of reason to start throwing them in the way-too-early playoff conversation.
LSU will be a bit undermanned when it takes on Western Kentucky tonight, but the Tigers should still manage to pick up a win even without two starters on defense. According to a report from The Advocate this morning, LSU will rest junior defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and possibly rest junior cornerback Tre’Davious White.
LaCouture injured his foot in last week’s victory over Florida, while White is working through a knee concern. White injured his knee in practice on Monday. The results of an MRI have not been reported at this time.If LaCouture is out, LSU could bump sophomore Greg Gilmore up to the starting spot on the depth chart.
Even against a team that passes the ball as well as Western Kentucky (6-1, 4-0 Conference USA) does with Brandon Doughty, LSU should be expected to power its way to a win tonight before heading into the bye week before preparing for Alabama. The Tigers have yet to lose a game and own the FBS record for most consecutive non-conference regular season wins with 51 straight victories heading into the game. That streak should extend to 52 games. LSU has also won 14 consecutive homecoming games, with the hope of pushing that to 15 straight games tonight in Baton Rouge.
If the Heisman Trophy was to be presented this weekend, LSU running back Leonard Fournette would receive it. In reality the trophy will not be awarded for another few months, which leaves Fournette some more time to add to his Heisman Trophy campaign highlight reel. Fournette had two rushing touchdowns in No. 8 LSU’s 34-24 victory at Syracuse on Saturday in New York. The two rushing touchdowns traveled a distance of 76 yards, and he was not touched once on either run.
Syracuse did hang with LSU for a while before LSU started to pull away in the second half. Syracuse matched LSU’s offense point for point, with an LSU special teams touchdown by Tre’Davious White giving LSU the edge on the scoreboard. But Syracuse just coudl not keep up on offense despite a valiant effort from fifth string quarterback Zach Mahoney. Mahoney caught LSU off guard with a beautiful 40-yard touchdown throw down the center of the field to Brisly Estime in the third quarter.
After Syracuse cut the LSU lead to 24-17 early in the fourth quarter on another touchdown throw from Mahoney (to Ben Lewis), LSU pulled away. Brandon Harris completed an 11-yard touchdown throw to Malachi Dupre on the ensuing possession to regain the 14-point advantage. A field goal from Trent Domingue from 37 yards padded the lead four minutes later.
Fournette’s performance will surely be discussed. Fournette rushed for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind he also had an 87-yard touchdown negated due to an illegal formation penalty on LSU. In doing so, Fournette became the first LSU running back to rush for 200 yards in a game in back-to-back weeks. Fournette will have a good chance to make more history with a third straight 200-yard day next week when LSU hosts Eastern Michigan.
Uh, good luck Eastern Michigan.
Two LSU football players, fullback Melvin Jones and cornerback Rashard Robinson, are no longer enrolled at LSU and neither is expected to return to the football program in 2015.
The Advocate reported Monday that LSU had confirmed Jones and Robinson, both sophomores, are no longer enrolled and attending classes, and suggests the two are believed to be academic casualties to the roster.
Jones appeared in nine games for the Tigers in 2014 and totaled 12 rushing yards in his limited rushing attempts. Robinson appeared in eight games for LSU and recorded 17 tackles. Robinson was suspended during the season prior to LSU’s game against Alabama. Robinson also missed LSU’s season opener against Wisconsin.
The new vacancies should open up the competition in the spring. LSU has already seen one of the nation’s top fullbacks enroll early for the spring semester. David Druce should take advantage of the early enrollment and could be quickly moving into the LSU backfield alongside Leonard Fournette for what could be a thunderous backfield in 2015.
At cornerback, Tre’Davious White is back in 2015. So too is senior Jalen Mills, so the two spots could be filled already. However, LSU will still be likely to allow players to compete for job starting this spring.