LSU will return to the football field for spring practice on March 11. In the meantime, SEC Country is preparing for those workouts by previewing each position group as it stands after National Signing Day.
Tight end/fullback depth chart
- Senior Foster Moreau
- Sophomore Jamal Pettigrew
- Junior Thaddeus Moss
- Senior Jacory Washington
- Redshirt freshman Aaron Moffitt
- Freshman Zach Sheffer
- Sophomore Tory Carter
- Senior David Ducre
- Redshirt freshman Matthew Clapp
Departures and arrivals
- Departures: J.D. Moore (graduation), Bry’Keithon Mouton (transfer)
- Arrivals: Zach Sheffer
Blockers who are now eligible to catch passes
In 2015, three LSU tight ends combined to catch 17 passes for 222 yards. Last season, Foster Moreau bested that output by himself.
Moreau had 24 catches for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns, continuing a renaissance at the position that began when Steve Ensminger took over as LSU’s interim offensive coordinator in Week 5 of the 2016 season.
In 2018, it stands to reason that Ensminger, who spent last season coaching tight ends and fullbacks, will find a way to keep his guys involved in the offense. Ensminger was promoted to offensive coordinator this offseason largely on the merit of his loyalty, and that trait carries over to his players.
Unlike other positions on offense, this spring won’t be about determining starters. Moreau, a senior, is entrenched as the top tight end. At fullback, Tory Carter has already shown himself a capable successor to J.D. Moore.
The question that will be answered is which players will step up to be the next in line, and how prominently tight ends and fullbacks will be featured in a new-look offense that will usually feature three receivers at the expense of a fullback or tight end.
From F-back to fullback?
Last year LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada primarily used LSU’s fullbacks as “F-backs” — a hybrid tight end/fullback role more commonly known as an H-back. It’s not clear yet whether Ensminger plans to continue this or move the fullbacks back to their traditional role.
Thaddeus Moss, who transferred from North Carolina State last year, is a bulky tight end who seems like he’d be a natural for the H-back position should it still have a place in the offense. The same can be said for redshirt freshman Aaron Moffitt, who switched from defensive end to tight end after arriving on campus last year. Incoming freshman Zach Sheffer was recruited with the H-back role in mind before Canada’s departure.
The F-back/H-back doesn’t figure to be a staple of LSU’s new offense, but the Tigers have the personnel to make sure it has a place.
Richard Dickson was the last LSU tight end to eclipse 300 receiving yards in a season (2008). Moreau came up just short of that mark last season, finishing with 274 yards on 24 receptions.
Dickson had 31 catches for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns in his junior season. LSU’s changing emphasis on using tight ends in the passing game began to some extent in Dickson’s senior year, when he caught 21 passes for 157 yards and no touchdowns.
Even with LSU primarily looking to use three receivers, Moreau could end up as the Tigers’ No. 2 receiving option for the second straight season. Carter will be a fan favorite, because something fun seems to happen every time he touches the ball. (By fun we mean a collision induced by Carter rather than the tackler.)
However, if the Tigers are committed to going three- or even four-wide at times, it’s unlikely that duo will frequently be on the field at the same time. Expect them to be used in specialty packages. For LSU fans who have spent years pining for a more wide-open offense, that’s a good thing.