Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Four-star offensive tackle commit Badora Traore might figure into LSU's starting offensive line competition in 2018.

What LSU’s strong offensive line recruiting class means for 2018

Nick Suss

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Hold the line

LSU received a commitment from one of its crown recruiting jewels in the Class of 2018, securing a verbal from 4-star offensive tackle Badara Traore. The top-rated junior college offensive tackle, Traore is the fourth offensive lineman committed to LSU for 2018, alongside fellow JUCO product Damien Lewis, Louisiana native Cameron Wire and Mississippi center Cole Smith.

Adding depth on the offensive line is one of LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s top priorities for 2018. Doing so with junior college prospects ready to play Day 1 is his ultimate goal. But will any of these guys actually start?

Assuming no juniors leave for the NFL draft, LSU should return five starters on the offensive line in 2018. Sure, K.J. Malone is graduating. But half of LSU’s starts at left tackle in 2017 belonged to freshman Saahdiq Charles. Between Charles, Garrett Brumfield, Will Clapp, Ed Ingram and Toby Weathersby, all five of LSU’s starters are expected to remain in Baton Rouge.

So, where do guys such as Traore fit in? You have to think they’re going to compete to start. LSU’s offensive line was good this year, particularly in the second half of the season, but it wasn’t perfect. If a better player arrives, he’ll take the job he deserves.

But more important, these recruits are reinforcements. When a lineman got hurt or needed a rest this season, LSU had to go to either a deep-level reserve or a walk-on. Next season, LSU should have enough bodies to field two or three offensive lines. Which is a huge boost.

Of all people, Malone seems to know this best.

Debo!

Thursday must’ve been a conflicting night for LSU fans who also happen to be New Orleans Saints fans.

Former LSU linebacker and Atlanta Falcons standout Deion Jones intercepted Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the end zone after the 2-minute warning to seal a Falcons victory. The interception capped a dazzling night for Jones that included 13 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 2 passes defended.

Sure, he beat the Saints. Beating Louisiana’s team never looks good for an LSU guy. But if there’s any level of college pride left for fans of both teams, there has to be a glimmer of excitement.

Elsewhere in NFLSU news

Former LSU cornerback and Buffalo Bills rookie Tre’Davious White would like the world to know one thing: Rob Gronkowski has not apologized.

The New England Patriots’ tight end hit White late after a White interception on Sunday, concussing White and earning “Gronk” a 1-game suspension. White doesn’t seem to think that suspension is long enough, calling the justice levied against Gronk a “joke.”

It’s hard to disagree with White’s take. Gronk’s hit was vicious and uncalled for. If the NFL is truly all about player safety, a hit like that should come with a bigger punishment. But the NFL is staying consistent to its regular protocol for suspending players. Whether or not it should is a different story.

Awards watch

The end-of-season college football awards were handed out Thursday night, with one LSU player going home empty-handed.

Clapp lost out on the Rimington Award, given to the best center in college football, to Ohio State’s Billy Price. Clapp was one of three finalists for the award, along with Price and Alabama center Bradley Bozeman. This was the second year in a row an Ohio State center won the Rimington Award.

As we talked about earlier, Clapp will likely return for 2018. He’s a junior and could leave early for the NFL. But that would be a little surprising, given the prevailing notion that Clapp would be a mid-round pick.

More All-SEC teams

Four LSU freshmen were named to the SEC All-Freshman Team on Thursday. They were as follows:

  • Left tackle Charles
  • Outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson
  • Cornerback Greedy Williams
  • Punter Zach Von Rosenberg

Williams was voted to the All-SEC first team earlier in the week, independent of class. In doing so, Williams became the first LSU freshman defender to be first-team All-SEC in school history.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Dec. 8 is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. Which is a cool holiday to celebrate, I guess?

I don’t know. Like, what’s the point of pretending to be a time traveler if no one else is in on the joke. You’re just gonna be annoying people. And confusing them. It’s not really a good game. Unless you get a bunch of friends to agree to play along with you. But the requires coordination. Which is hard.

I guess what I’m saying is this holiday seems like a lot of work to pull off. If you’re up for it, go for it. If not, just rest.

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