Anthony Jennings appears to be the guy to replace Mettenberger at quarterback. In limited action last year he completed 13 of 29 passes for 181 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. A dual-threat, the incoming sophomore from Georgia was a 4-star on Rivals and should eventually have no problem filling the void that Mettenberger left. He’s not going to wow you with any accuracy, but this is the LSU Tigers we’re talking about. He simply needs to be a playmaker, and Les Miles will maximize his potential with the talent around him, which comes to the next point…
Jeremy Hill may be gone, and Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard might be the logical choices to replace him at running back. But Leonard Fournette could easily win that job. Miles has already compared him to Michael Jordan with his work ethic, and he is oddly tall for a back at 6’1. The New Orleans native looks like he’ll be able to step in and immediately make a huge impact, but Magee had 626 yards and 8 touchdowns as a backup last year, and Hilliard added on another 310 yards an 7 touchdowns. These two seniors have waited their turn at LSU to shine, and this will probably be the year for them. Still, with those guys along with Fournette waiting in the wings and Jennings’s dual-threat abilities, the Tigers will probably have a deadlier running game than they even had last year. Hill was great, but I doubt he’ll be missed too much.
Losing two 1,100-yard receivers will hurt in the passing game as much as losing Mettenberger, but Travin Dural could step in, as could senior Quantavious Leslie. John Diarse and Avery Peterson could also see some action this year. But the guy to watch out for his Rivals 5-star true freshman Malachi Dupre. At 6’4 and running a 4.6-40, Dupre could be an immediate superstar. His size alone will allow for Jennings to use his legs to extend plays, because Dupre seems like the type of guy who can create something out of nothing. He may have to wait his turn to start as well, but he’s got an even better chance of making an immediate impact than Fournette. If neither of them plays a lot this year, we know they’re part of the future. Two years from now, Jennings, Fournetter, and Dupre will make for possibly the best trio in college football.
The line is pretty stacked with four starters returning, the only loss being guard Trai Turner to the NFL. But Tackle La’el Collins and Center Elliott Porter are both seniors with experience and size, standing at 6’5 and 6’4 respectively and weighing more than 300 pounds. Guard Vadal Alexander is also an experienced lineman, and standing at 6’6 and weighing at 342 pounds, he’s back for his junior year. Jerald Hawkins started games as a freshman last year and is back for his sophomore season at tackle, standing at 6’6 as well and weighing 301 pounds. Evan Washington could fill the other position at guard his senior year, standing at 6’6 and weighing 334 pounds. Other guys in the rotation could include Josh Boutte, Ethan Pocic, K.J. Malone, and Jonah Austin.
With the talent returning on the line, the skill players with abilities who just need a chance to showcase what they can do, and the incoming superstar freshmen, the Tigers offense may change its tempo and style up a bit from last year, but it should still be incredibly efficient and exciting. Although Mettenberger was good, I don’t foresee any fall of with this team with the loss of a quarterback, just like any other LSU team.