SEC Country is examining each LSU position group following the Tigers’ spring as we await the start of fall camp.
Tuesday’s breakdown features LSU’s 2016 collection of defensive backs.
You should already know: Tre’Davious White, Jamal Adams, Kevin Toliver II
Analysis: Yet again, LSU has an exceptional collection of talent returning to its secondary.
Tre’Davious White returned for his senior season to serve as an anchor at the cornerback position, and he will be much-needed considering how young the Tigers could be there.
Also back is Kevin Toliver II, who made immediate contributions at corner as a true freshman in 2015, as well as Donte Jackson, who made his mark as a return specialist last season but should see action at the nickel moving forward.
Toliver missed all of the spring as he recovered from a shoulder procedure, and Jackson also spent part of the spring sidelined after he encountered academic issues, which made him ineligible to practice.
That thrust early enrollee Saivion Smith into the a more prominent spot this spring, when he quickly seized the opportunity and shined. Smith saw action opposite of White and held his own, making a seamless transition from the high school ranks to the SEC — at least on the practice field.
“He’s long, athletic and very capable there as well,” LSU coach Les Miles said of Smith to SEC Country.
Smith may be joined by another true freshman this summer in former five-star Kristian Fulton. Fulton could help LSU become five-deep at the cornerback position.
One of the Tigers’ top defensive playmakers, Jamal Adams, highlights a safety tandem that also includes Rickey Jefferson.
Jefferson is the younger brother of former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and is getting his first crack at a starting job in his senior season.
Jefferson also missed part of the spring with an injury and could be pushed for playing time by some of the incoming safeties. Eric Monroe and Cameron Lewis are two names to keep an eye on entering camp.
Key question: Can the young group of defensive backs sustain LSU’s success in the SEC? White is the most experienced member of the secondary, and Adams is only a junior. Aside from them, Jefferson is preparing for his first year as a starter, Toliver is preparing for his sophomore season and other contributors like Smith are true freshmen. This spring, the group had success, but it might be a different story on Sept. 3 when they line up against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field.
Bottom line: Young defensive backs need to be poised to take on key roles on the back end of the LSU defense. Whether it’s Jefferson, Monroe or Lewis at safety, or Smith, Fulton or Toliver at cornerback, there are going to be a lot of inexperienced talents in key spots early on. How quickly those players can mature and get a feel for the game will give us a good gauge of how high the Tigers’ defensive ceiling can be. With defensive coordinator Dave Aranda mixing things up in the front seven, the LSU secondary should have its chances to make plays on the back end.