by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Former Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Mekhi Garner stands out as one of LSU's more intriguing transfers of 2022, with Head Coach Brian Kelly even describing Mekhi as "an NFL cornerback" during a spring press conference.
Aside from Kelly's comment, there hasn't been considerable national hype whatsoever for Garner's debut LSU season; Regardless....there are rumblings within DBU about his potential as a major standout in 2022.
First off, Mekhi's 3 years and 25 career appearances at supplies experience and poise to a secondary who's most experienced players were Todd Harris and Jay Ward before transfers arrived.
Second, his rangy 6'2 height 212 pound build is impressive in person, as I witnessed at spring ball for LSU.
Garner will have no issues physically matching up against top wide receivers within the SEC, especially after practicing against Cortez Hankton's deep & talented group.
I watched Jack Bech beat him on an inside route, although Garner batted a pass in the air for Brooks Jr to intercept only a few plays later, a nice response; We all witnessed the Spring Game, where Brian Thomas Jr outlasted flawless coverage from Garner, only for the special dynamo WR to reel in a one handed catch above him.
Garner didn't put another step wrong, showing solid recovery once again...which he will need this season. Many top QBs within the SEC are willing to test him on the edges....that is the stage upon where Mekhi really must fight.
Third, at 3 interceptions & 15 pass break ups during his Rajun Cajuns career (while receiving limited targets on his side of the field), Garner has a chance to solidify NFL Draft stock by proving he can replicate & even top his prior production.
Right now, Garner seems to be slated as an opening game starter for Robert Steeples' DBUnit, although his stranglehold on that spot will definitely come under threat from Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Sage Ryan (if moved to CB), Sevyn Banks, Damarius McGhee, nickel Greg Brooks Jr among others.
Plenty of competition will help sharpen every DB & WR Tiger over the next few months, however Garner stands tall as the most game-ready cornerback on the team right now, keeping in mind our lack of experience & recent injuries / departures.
In my opinion, 2022 will be a major season for LSU's own #22.....why?
Right now, outside of Jay Ward, DBU are in desperate need of swaggering veteran leadership, a key component young superstar Tigers have always fed off of.....
It's starting to look, sound & feel as if Mekhi Garner is yet another touchstone for our young DBs....as well as a measuring point for how well LSU's secondary will fare in 2022:
Right now, regardless of any name on roster you could throw out, LSU are leaning on Garner's abilities and experience to help solidify at least one cornerback spot.....and from what I've seen with my own eyes, in the flesh, I believe Mekhi is up for the challenge.
Make no mistake, Mekhi transferred to LSU to jettison his NFL chances, and if he's able to produce an excalibur type of campaign in order to achieve that goal, then Garner's on-field brilliance is helping more than himself escalate his way up the Draft: if Mekhi Garner is able to record a strong ass season, it would likely cause a domino effect of competitive oneupsmanship within Coach Steeples' WRs room.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
(Earlier, we incorrectly listed Mekhi's former school as ULM, a mistake of ours. We fixed that error to represent University of Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun Cajuns as his former school, which we knew but just mixed it up and forgot. Thank you, Josh Guillory for catching this)