SEC Country is examining each LSU position group following the Tigers’ spring as we await the start of fall camp.
Wednesday’s breakdown features LSU’s 2016 collection of specialists.
You should already know: Tre’Davious White, Derrius Guice, Trent Domingue
Analysis: LSU is getting somewhat of a makeover in terms of its special teams unit in 2016, but for the most part returning numerous important pieces.
Trent Domingue is a name Tigers fans are awfully familiar with. Last year’s Lou Groza Award semifinalist is back for his senior season, where he will not only handle placekicking duties, but serve as LSU’s primary punter as well.
The former walk-on has been a major contributor for the LSU’s kicking game. Domingue connected on 13-of-17 field goals last season, drilling 10 in a row at one juncture in the season.
This season, Domingue’s biggest challenge is taking over the punting game for Jamie Keehn, who was a third-year starter and a captain for the 2015 season. Domingue will return to punting for the first time since he was an All-State special team player at St. Paul’s High School (Covington, La.) and averaged 38.9 yards per punt.
Domingue is one of several familiar contributors returning to LSU’s special teams units, joining primary punt returner Tre’Davious White and kick return specialist Derrius Guice.
White led LSU with an 11.4 yards per return average last year, including a 69-yard punt return touchdown against Syracuse, which marked the longest of his career.
Equally as explosive is Guice, who bursted onto the scene as the Tigers’ kick returner, single-handedly sparking LSU’s victory over Texas A&M in the regular-season finale — and in the process — saving Les Miles’ job.
One other return specialist to keep an eye on is Donte Jackson.
The nickelback did not participate for part of the spring because of a lingering hamstring injury and academic issues, but could be in store for a magnified role this season.
The sophomore is also a standout of LSU’s outdoor track team and balanced his time between racing and football this spring. Jackson used track to better prepare for the upcoming football season, where he should see action not only in the Tigers’ secondary but on kick and punt returns.
Key question: Can Domingue excel as both a placekicker and a punter? His resume suggests yes, but it’s quite a responsibility to be a consistent field-goal kicker and punter each and every Saturday.
Domingue did just that when he prepped at St. Paul’s, but is in for an even greater challenge in his senior season at LSU. Many prominent players are preparing for breakout seasons in 2016, and you can include Domingue in that group as well.
Bottom line: Even with Domingue taking on added responsibilities, he is one of several veterans returning to LSU’s special teams unit this season.
White and Guice both served as return specialists last season, and excelled for that matter.
As the LSU offense braces for more passing and the defense adjusts to a 3-4 scheme, consider the Tigers’ special teams as a very stable unit.