LSU’s highly-anticipated 2016 football season gets underway Monday with the start of spring practices.
Each day, SEC Country will take a look at one key position group on the LSU roster and analyze the talent returning, the departures and the new additions, while providing expert analysis on the most prominent storylines to keep an eye on.
The spring football preview was a 10-part series that concluded on Friday.
Special teams coordinator: Bradley Dale Peveto
Key returners: Trent Domingue, Donte Jackson, Tre’Davious White, Derrius Guice
Other returners: Cameron Gamble
Newcomers: Connor Culp
Departures: Jamie Keehn, Reid Ferguson, Brad Kragthorpe
Outlook: There are some big names back for LSU on its special teams units.
Most noticeably, the Tigers should be exceptionally explosive in the return games.
Jackson, Guice and White comprise a three-headed monster in which all are capable of taking it the distance on any given Saturday.
White was LSU’s primary punt returner in 2015, averaging a whopping 11.4 yards per return, good for No. 6 in the SEC and No. 20 in the nation.
With White cemented as the team’s top cornerback, some punt-return responsibilities could be passed along to Jackson. The rising sophomore recently distinguished himself as one of the fastest college athletes in the country, which should make for a seamless transition in this role.
Jackson could also see more returns on kickoffs. He took back eight kicks last season compared to Guice’s team-leading 20.
As a true freshman, Guice averaged 23.6 yards per return, good for No. 5 in the SEC and No. 46 nationally. Jackson averaged 20.5 yards per return, albeit in limited attempts.
As explosive as LSU’s return teams promise to be, the kicking unit should be equally as steady.
Back is Domingue, who was rock-solid up to 49 yards. The 2015 Lou Groza Award semifinalist connected on 13-of-16 kicks (81 percent) in that range. Overall, Domingue’s season percentage of 76.5 ranked No. 4 in the conference.
The senior may also have to handle punting duties this coming season in place of Keehn. Last season, Keehn was the Tigers’ sole punter, averaging 40.7 yards per kick with six punts of more than 50 yards and 18 downed inside the opponents’ 18-yard-line.
In addition to Domingue, some kicking responsibilities may fall to Culp, an incoming freshman.
The three-star prospect out of Phoenix, Ariz., Culp participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this past year. During his senior season, he recorded 49 kickoffs for touchbacks, drilled 12-of-17 field-goal attempts, including a 50-yarder, and was 40-of-41 on PATs.
Here’s a look at our past spring football previews:
- Quarterback an area of stability entering 2016
- Heisman Trophy hopeful headlines talented backfield
- Newcomers aim to make instant impact at wide receiver
- Last year’s surprise the clear-cut tight end
- Competition expected along the offensive line
- Defensive front boasts strengths in numbers
- Freshmen look to find roles in linebacking corps
- Health, inexperience a theme at cornerback
- Depth, youth a theme at safety