What LSU’s pursuit of Cal running back Tre Watson says about Tigers
SEC Country reporter Alex Hickey will answer your LSU Tigers sports queries each weekday in our LSU Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryLSU, @bigahickey or by email to Alex at email@example.com.
Question of the Day: Monday, April 16
Late Sunday night, news broke that Cal running back Tre Watson is planning to visit LSU this month.
Watson is graduating from Cal and looking to play elsewhere in his final year of eligibility. LSU’s interest isn’t entirely unexpected since the Tigers have one scholarship spot open for a graduate transfer even after adding Stanford cornerback Terrence Alexander last week.
A mini-debate ensued in my Twitter mentions regarding Watson’s possible addition to the roster, with the crux of it coming down to this:
What would Tre Watson add to the LSU backfield? Do the Tigers really need him?
First, let’s look outside the box.
The other position where LSU was contemplating the addition of a grad transfer is quarterback. So it’s a pretty good show of faith in Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan that the Tigers are going a different direction with this.
Of course, the flip side of that equation is that the coaching staff has some serious questions about the backfield. That was clear enough heading into the spring, since LSU already had to replace its top two rushers for the first time since 2010 and its top three rushers for the first time since 1969. Now it’s even more obvious.
The interest in Watson seems to say two things — early enrollee Tae Provens may need more time to develop, and the Tigers’ faith in senior Nick Brossette as a starting SEC feature back is not necessarily high.
I’m not sure Watson would start over Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but he’d definitely challenge for the job. Whoever loses the competition to be the starter would become a potent threat on third down. Watson’s highlight reel shows he’s quite a weapon in the passing game — and that’s a key element to Steve Ensminger’s offense.
Watson is averaging 10.2 yards per catch on 37 career receptions. He also averages 5.1 yards per carry on 274 career attempts. If that’s not enough versatility for you, Watson averages 19.3 yards per return on 34 career kickoff returns.
If a guy who averages a first down per catch and with every 2 carries becomes available, you make a run at him. Adding Watson would make LSU a better football team in 2018.
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