LSU football is in desperate need of some audacious developments. LSU has been a pitiful 11-12 three years after a 15-0 season and a national title.
Brian Kelly, the head coach, has been dealing with some recruitment challenges in the offseason. This has made it more challenging to turn around a championship-caliber program in the hardest conference in college football.
The LSU Tigers are a tough team to predict because of the significant roster transition from last season to this one. The schedule offers the Tigers an opportunity to start building their confidence if LSU football can resolve its numerous personnel difficulties.
LSU plays Florida State in New Orleans to start Labor Day weekend before hosting Southern, Mississippi State, and New Mexico. Who knows whether LSU can travel to Auburn and get a win to somehow go to 5-0? That seems unlikely.
Although teams like Alabama and Texas A&M will be superior to the Tigers, if LSU can keep their mistakes to a minimum in their next 10 games, a 9-3 record is a realistic goal.
That in itself is already a pretty bold prediction already, but here are a few more for the 2022 season.
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LSU Football 2022 Predictions
3. Jarrick Bernard-Converse will be an All-American
Jarrick Bernard-Converse was included in a published list of the top 10 transfers in the SEC. He was ranked 10th overall. Pundits rated him as the best of the four corners LSU brought in.
“He was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2021 at Oklahoma State for one of the nation’s best defenses; he should be both a physical and emotional leader for LSU,” according to On3.
In 2021, Bernard-Converse broke up 10 passes. This sum outperformed every Big 12 corner. He was one of the conference's finest tackling corners last year, according to PFF, missing only two tackles overall. Additionally, he only let 50% of the balls that were thrown in his direction be caught.
Another Louisiana native is Callin' Baton Rouge. Welcome home, @TheJBnard!https://t.co/mzjRqW9dFD pic.twitter.com/xnY48RfWoJ
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) January 26, 2022
247Sports Composite Rankings listed Bernard-Converse as the 88th top safety in his class in 2018. When he graduated from high school that same year, nobody considered the Louisiana native a highly anticipated recruit .
At Oklahoma State, however, he got on the field almost right away. He made an impression as a freshman and then settled in at cornerback. In 2022, Bernard-Converse must play up to the expectations for LSU to avoid having a weak secondary. Much hinges on his brilliance for the Tigers to play great pass defense this year.
2. Kayshon Boutte will have a huge year
Prior to having his season abruptly curtailed after six games due to a fractured ankle, Kayshon Boutte looked on track for an incredibly enormous 2021 season.
A season-ending injury against Kentucky cut short a nine-game streak dating back to Boutte's freshman season in which he scored in every game and tallied up 13 touchdowns. Although there was initial worry that he wouldn't get along with new coach Brian Kelly, Boutte's receipt of the ceremonial No. 7 jersey in July was good. It served as a clear indication of what is expected of perhaps the most skilled player on the team.
Nobody is happier than the LSU fans that Kayshon Boutte's return for the 2022 campaign actually came true. They will have a dynamic weapon on the outside no matter who among Jayden Daniels, Myles Brennan, or Garrett Nussmeier is under center.
Through six games, he ended the 2021 season with 38 catches for 509 yards and 9 touchdowns. In 2021, he also demonstrated his superiority on the road. Here's to LSU fans seeing Boutte have an explosive 2022 season for the Tigers.
#LSU WR Kayshon Boutte, DB Jarrick Bernard-Converse land on PFF's Preseason All-America Teams.https://t.co/rlbQOXq7FD pic.twitter.com/UYrBtZ9hxr
— Billy Embody (@BillyEmbody) August 2, 2022
1. B.J. Ojulari is gonna be a monster
B.J. Ojulari led LSU in sacks as a sophomore. Observers regard him as one of the SEC's premier pass rushers heading into his junior campaign. He ranks No. 43 on ESPN's list and is a leader for LSU both on and off the field.
You can tell how important Ojulari is to LSU football by the fact that they chose him to don the coveted No. 18 jersey this season. It has been a tradition to recognize the athlete who best represents LSU football. The 6-3, 250-pound defensive end is among the SEC's most potent pass rushers. Last season, he recorded 11.5 tackles for a loss, including 7 sacks.
Ojulari was also recently added to the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. The best defensive player in college football, regardless of position, receives that award each year. He joins 85 players put on the list. He'll try to join Glenn Dorsey, an LSU player who won the Nagurski Trophy in 2007, as the second Tiger to do so.
Needless to say, he enters his junior season with high hopes. If Ojulari can remain healthy, he should be among the finest edge rushers in the SEC, if not the entire country.
Ojulari started all games last autumn after having an instant impact in the rotation as a true freshman in 2020. He participated in every game, ranking second on the team in tackles for loss and sacks. Having him play with Ali Gaye could also give the Tigers one of the top edge-rushing tandems in the nation.
Experts expect Ojulari to step up his game as he enters his third season. Many believe he might go in the top five in the 2023 NFL draft. As the defense looks to improve in 2022 under new defensive coordinator Matt House, Ojulari should be a defensive anchor and a monster.