Updated: Mar 1, 2022
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
JOHN EMERY JR
Top to bottom, LSU's running backs room boast talent and elite potential....however, very few are proven on the field ahead of Week 1 vs Florida State.
Last year, LSU's ground game suffered for much of the season, in fact the entire running backs room rushed below 100 yards collectively during 4 of LSU's first 6 games....the nadir arriving when all LSU backs were held to 33 yards on 25 carries vs Auburn....
Outside of Ty Davis-Price's 1,004 yards and 6 TDs or a few strong appearances from Corey Kiner, LSU's rushing game was basically non-existent throughout 2021; In fact, the Tigers' running backs room only rushed for 9 total TDs....just 2 rushing TDs returning for this season...
Running back wasn't merely a position which required bolstering....it needed a complete rebranding.....which is exactly why the return of Frank Wilson is so pivotal.
Regardless of the meager production or lack of big game experience among LSU's Running Backs Room, don't underestimate Uncle Frank's crew just yet:
Frank Wilson's running backs room remains chock full of maniacal sophomore specimen, former 5 star talents holding impressive, possibly boundless potential, and of course 2019 National Champion running back John Emery Jr, now on the cusp of his 4th season on campus, hoping 2022 will become his 3rd on field as a Tiger.
Yes, you read that right:
Due to an academic error, John Emery Jr was declared ineligible for the Tigers' 2021 season, opening the doors for Ty Davis-Price's 1,000 yard campaign, all time record rushing performance vs Florida, and his jump to the NFL Draft.
After speaking with John's father for much of the off-season, I can tell you Emery Jr is ready to prove doubters wrong; If one simply reviews his film vs Alabama (2020), Oklahoma (2019) and Vandy (2020), you'll agree LSU have a wonder back on their hands if he can stay on the field. Now that Uncle Frank has confirmed John Emery Jr's eligibility and drive, I would be stunned if he doesn't start in 2022.
Last year, we witnessed Kiner grab freshman starts alongside an impressive 79 carries, 324 yards (4.1 per carry), 2 TDs, some brilliant stiff arms, spin moves and attempted hurdles as the former Roger Bacon record-breaker nearly stole LSU's starting spot; after his 72 yard performance vs Central Michigan, the prospects of a freshman starting for LSU at running back was not only on the cards, it appeared likely.
Suddenly, TDP assumed the reins over a 6 game spree and succeeded beautifully.....still, Kiner set the tone for a strong LSU career during a time when his teammates & program needed him.
Another Tiger by way of Cincinnati, much like his mentor Spencer Ware, Kiner is without a doubt one of the team's most effective, celebrated and beloved players returning from last season.
2021 wasn't so kind to Armoni Goodwin:
Armoni provided a few flashes, only to limp off injured after his best runs of the year, appearing in just 6 games while still averaging a solid 4.1 yards per rush.
Goodwin will be hungry to play more than a mere complimentary role this upcoming year, and despite owning some next level running back attributes, Armoni and the rest of Wilson's room will be looking over their shoulders at LSU's new transfer addition, Noah Cain.
The Louisiana native & high school 5 star set Penn State's freshman scoring record (for running backs) before enduring an injury-plagued season at Happy Valley. Now, afforded a clean slate and a scholarship back home, Noah Cain is a tangibly exciting prospect.
Not only did Cain appear in 24 games for the Nittany Lions, 5 more than LSU's next most experienced back (Emery at 19 apps), the former Guyer & IMG standout rushed for 806 total rushing yards, 12 TDs and carried the ball 193 times, averaging 4.2 each rush.
Bradford has a long, strange history at LSU, transferring away to Oklahoma after 2020...only to return months later just before Week 1, although he wouldn't be eligible for 90% of the year, collecting just 2 rushes for 11 yards....his lead-taking, 3rd and goal touchdown catch vs Florida remains his greatest impact as a Tiger.
In a deep running back room, looking up at Emery Jr, Cain, Kiner, Goodwin, I could see Bradford opt for the portal.
Josh Williams is a productive, violent runner whenever he's received carries, although he may be forced to remain patient for touches this season.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
THANK YOU: Thank You To My Parents for Being A Strong Support; Huge Appreciation & Love for Denean, Michelle, Martin, Stacie, Em, Linda, Tonge' and John Sr. Thank you to T for his help in helping me help you.