SEC Country is examining each LSU position group following the Tigers’ spring as we await the start of fall camp.
Monday’s breakdown features LSU’s 2016 collection of tight ends.
You should already know: Colin Jeter, Foster Moreau
Analysis: Tight end is one of the few position groups on LSU’s roster that remains largely untouched from last year.
Of course, only Dillon Gordon is absent from the depth chart, as the veteran tight end was denied an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA and was forced to pursue an opportunity in the NFL.
After going undrafted, Gordon quickly caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles.
That leaves Jeter and Moreau as LSU’s clear-cut Nos. 1 and 2 tight ends heading into fall camp, which should hardly come as a surprise.
Jeter enjoyed a solid campaign last year as a junior, filling in for an injured Gordon. The 6-foot-7, 244-pounder started nine games and was fifth on the team in both receptions (12) and yards (132), and also scored a touchdown.
Tight ends do not traditionally have prominent roles in Cam Cameron’s offense, but Jeter was a major threat when it came to red-zone possessions last season. That ultimately could be the case again in 2016.
Colin Jeter vs Michael Divinity pic.twitter.com/duyEvnl6ad
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) April 12, 2016
His batterymate, Moreau, was one of the bright surprises last season.
As a true freshman, the Jesuit High School (New Orleans) product proved to be a versatile weapon in the Tigers’ offense. Moreau was a capable in-line blocker as he was thrust into the action, and has seen increased reps as a pass-catcher this spring.
Behind Jeter and Moreau is senior DeSean Smith and sophomore Jacory Washington, who are expected to maintain reserve roles in 2016. LSU also will see Class of 2016 signee Jamal Pettigrew in fall camp, one of the top tight end prospects in the nation last year.
Pettigrew has the size and abilities as many of the wideouts LSU has courted in the past two recruiting classes, with a big frame and catching radius, along with exceeding athleticism.
Pettigrew may be able to carve out a role as a hybrid tight end that splits out wide at times.
Key Question: Will LSU’s tight ends see more action in a new-look LSU offense? Tight ends do not traditionally have big roles in Cameron’s scheme, nor do they have expansive roles in spread offenses. Jeter proved to be a capable pass-catcher last season, and Moreau did the same during spring practices. Will that translate into bigger roles in 2016 as the Tigers place a greater emphasis on their short-passing game?
Bottom line: Whether they’re destined to be blockers or pass-catchers, health is paramount. Both Jeter and Moreau must remain healthy given the lack of depth LSU boasts at the position entering the 2016 season. The loss of Gordon looms huge, as the veteran tight end was experienced and used quite often by Cameron as an added run-blocker. If LSU is going to continue to have success protecting Brandon Harris and carving out running lanes for Leonard Fournette, the tight ends must be both healthy and effective.