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BEHIND LSU'S COMMITMENT TO THE RUNNING GAME IN 2024

Updated: Mar 15


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On the cusp of year three, fronted by one of (if not) the country's best offensive line setups, with a first year starting quarterback navigating a razorhell schedule, and needing to protect his uncertain defensive unit short on depth, LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly has already made it known: In 2024, LSU will be running the football.

When discussing how the Tigers will make up for QB Jayden Daniels' 1,000 yard season on the ground, Head Coach Brian Kelly said, "you can do it with perimeter throws, that Jayden gave us with perimeter runs....not simply with the running backs, but how you use your offensive line. We think that we've got, if not one of the best, certainly one of the top offensive lines in the country....and they're athletic as well, we think our tackles can move and pull. So, I think our running game becomes more diversified..."

As he talks about an "offensive line-led" rushing attack for the upcoming season, some questions still linger about Frank Wilson's running back room:

While Josh Williams and Kaleb Jackson could be among the SEC's top rushing duos, spectacularly talented red shirt freshman Trey Holly remains suspended as his attempted murder case leaves him in legal limbo (he claims his innocence and has publicly stated a case of mistaken identity), incoming true freshman Caden Durham is an exciting prospect, although still inexperienced as a true freshman.

These 4, with only 2 currently available, are backed by 4 new walk on additions, redshirt freshmen Joseph Ebun and Logan Downer, joined by redshirt sophomores Jake Arnold and Langston Stewart.

How did Coach Wilson's 8-9 deep 2023 running back room become so depleted in only a few months?

LSU also lost key backfield depth during the winter portal window, a trio of backs who would've been starters for nearly every other school in the country, Armoni Goodwin, Tre Bradford, Noah Cain, and then 2023 leading rusher Logan Diggs.....all departing in quickfire succession.

So, sporting only two available backs during Spring camp (four total scholarship rushers as the best case scenario), will the Tigers have enough options, patience and depth to actually commit to their ground game in 2024???

With an offensive line room full of ballers & shot-callers and future 1st round picks, Joe Sloan / Cortez Hankton's offense will not only go under center & run pro style rushing formations (a first at LSU since 2017) as they trust their O-line, the Sloan / Hankton offensive operation will ride 6th year senior Josh Williams, the final remaining 2019 Tiger & heartbeat of the locker room; Backing up or even starting over Williams, second year wunderkind Kaleb Jackson will also be repeatedly fed.

An elite, next level savage who motored over, ran through, or spun around SEC defenses with impressive panache and expert brutality (as a true freshman), Jackson owns every tool in the arsenal to become a marquee Tiger.

Without Jackson's versatility, production and SEC ready physicality, LSU's 2024 running backs room would be alongside the D-line as the two most concerning position groups on roster.

Instead, Williams and Jackson could provide a solid one-two punch foundation....a thunder / lightning combo.

In theory, Williams would get you those hard yards, the goal-line plays or on 3rd / 4th and short, while Jackson is capable of making any defender miss or scoring from anywhere on the field at any time (467 yards from scrimmage & 4 TDs as a debutant).

For a running back room needing a steady veteran hand to guide their younger talents, Wilson has that via Williams.

In Jackson, Uncle Frank holds an ace up his sleeve, bringing star power and overwhelming athleticism to the party.

I'm just going to write it down....right here, right now so you all can see it:
In our view, Kaleb Jackson holds all the potential to become one of the all time great rushers in Tigers history if he follows the path.

That duo are exciting, however....if the currently suspended Trey Holly can clear his name, becoming eligible once again, the Tigers would then be equipped with a sumptuous, potentially devastating power trio.

Averaging 5.2 and 5.3 yards respectively, Williams and Jackson also combined for 10 scores throughout 2023 (9 rushing, 1 receiving). They both rushed well after contact, 2.38 and 3.68 yards after contact per attempt (for context, JD5 finished with 4.71 per attempt), forcing 17 missed tackles, and hitting 12 runs of 10+ yards.

Making it happen through the air, as well, the leading duo snagged 20 catches for 247 yards (averaging 12.3 per catch).

Holly's 110 yards and 1 TD from 11 freshman carries mostly arrived from a long, galloping 67 yard touchdown run, featuring some brutal yards after contact and plenty of future forecasting of Holly's majestic abilities.

Frank Wilson may go pushing for a transfer addition during the upcoming portal window to help bolster his options, yet if the Tigers can remain healthy, if Holly can clear his name & return, backed by Durham being ready to take rotational snaps (20+ attempts over the season), then LSU's thin 2024 running back room may also become the best we've seen in purple & gold since 2019.

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2024 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

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2 Comments


Jackson has all the tools. He will need to be proficient as a blocker too. If he really gets it all down, this man has Leonard Fournette size, strength, and power. We all think the world of Williams too. I have a feeling we could see a spring portal addition. I remain bullish on our backs.,

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Me Too brother. We got some great ones, maybe we just need another guy, but we'll see what the walk on backs are all about.

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