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WILL COREY RAYMOND BE ABLE TO DEVELOP & MAXIMIZE DBU 2024 IN YEAR 1?

Updated: Mar 5

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Unlike Bo Davis' D-line, depth isn't necessarily the issue for Corey Raymond's DBU room....the real problem is proven depth and a jigsaw of versatile, mostly inexperienced DBs, needing a dedicated, calculated masterstroke to fit each piece in the right spot.

Fronted by a few veterans, such as likely starting CB Zy Alexander (7 PBUs, 2 INTs), DB jack-of-all-trades Sage Ryan, and two former Ohio State transfer corners on their way back from injury: Jyaire Brown and JK Johnson, the bulk of the room's elite pedigree consists of second and first year Tigers:

Last year in his starting debut @ Alabama as a freshman, Javien Toviano pulled off revelatory moments at corner, staving off suggestions he'd be moved to safety; Ashton Stamps didn't allow a catch during his first 9 targets as a true freshman, playing well in stretches before his youngster naiveté later caught him for a few scoring deep shots downfield.

Regardless of their youth, barring Ryan and Alexander, both Toviano and Stamps performed better than any other cornerback on roster last year.

Though mostly featured on special teams as a debutant, Jeremiah Hughes holds a promising athletic profile and skill set; true freshman 5 star Ju'juan Johnson is a special athlete who's extensive on-field time as a quarterback (for Lafayette Christian Academy) may force his development to be more of a project during his first year.

Also intriguing?

Two slightly more experienced DBs who can play numerous spots, Ryan Yaites & Jordan Allen: where will these two adventurous, multi-faceted cover men fit under Raymond?

Yaites is a high IQ defensive back who can play in any of the main four roles at the back, but as a natural safety, he's pushing for a role as a free safety, the spot Jake Olsen has him competing for this Spring.

Against Ole Miss, Yaites supplied one of the defense's few stops in the game, swatting a pass on a 4th down blitz off the edge. He also came close to a sack vs Miss St, one Mekhi Wingo finished off just before Yaites could arrive on a blitz.

Allen is adaptable to both corner or safety, but he's moved away from his high school days at corner, opting for the safety spot.

At safety, Major Burns returns after an emotional, struggle-filled season that began with the tragic absence & cancer diagnosis of safety partner Greg Brooks Jr, and ended with his 6th allowed receiving score of the season.

With new transfer arrival Jardin Gilbert bringing high octane qualities, natural safety Sage Ryan making a push for a locked down role, plus former 5 star red shirt / true freshmen Kylin Jackson and Dashawn McBryde fighting in the mix, as well as Yaites or Allen all in contention for two safety spots, Burns could be in a serious fight for a starting job this offseason.

The ultimate question remains: under Raymond, will this struggling secondary group make the jump after an exhausting, turbulent, and historically poor 2023 DBU campaign?
Will this group even be talented enough for Raymond to elevate or organize in Year 1?

Regardless of LSU's cache of wicked prospects, fantastic athletic specimen, and a righteous sprinkling of veteran presence, since 2019, we are yet to see an LSU secondary play to the hallowed DBU standards set by Mathieu, Peterson, Landry. Steltz & Adams....

....2019 just happens to be the last defining season of Raymond's first tenure as "The DBU Miyagi".

Will his return usher in the next generation of DBU superstars?
A new wave of secondary domination in purple & gold?
Or will Tiger fans, drooling for a return to that aggressive, ass-kicking DBU vs the World heyday, be forced to wait yet another season?

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2024 Uninterrupted Writings Inc


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