An early-enrollee is turning heads at LSU football’s spring practices

LSU added safety/cornerback PJ Woodland of Hattiesburg, Mississippi to its current Class of 2024. PHOTO COURTESY: PJ Woodland

Just a little over four months ago, PJ Woodland was playing in the Mississippi state championship game for Oak Grove High School. Now, he’s earned himself a shot at the starting corner role for LSU’s defense.

After the Tigers stuck with the same starting corners for the first several practices this spring, freshman PJ Woodland was inserted into the lineup for the first-team defense today.

“PJ Woodland is a competitor,” LSU defensive coordinator Blake Baker said. “He’s feisty, he’ll throw it in there. He’s physical and he can run.”

The starting corners for much of spring ball have been Ashton Stamps and Javien Toviano, but Woodland took Toviano’s spot in today’s practice. Getting to start there in practice doesn’t mean that Woodland has won the position or will be a starter going forward, but it does seem like a good early sign that he has earned the chance to compete with the 1’s.

“For a freshman, we’ve thrown him out there with the one’s some,” Baker said. “We’ve thrown him out there against our top receivers and he competes. That’s where it starts. I’ve been really, really impressed by him.”

Today, Woodland matched up with LSU’s top receiver Kyren Lacy at times in 11-on-11 work. Lacy made a deep grab with Woodland in close coverage today, but it was more of an impressive play by Lacy than a poor play by Woodland. Woodland was draped all over him, but the placement from Garrett Nussmeier and strong hands of Lacy just beat the coverage.

Woodland was a three-star recruit out of Mississippi who was recruited by Ole Miss and Mississippi State before he committed to LSU. The 6-foot, 160-pound athlete was the No. 526 player nationally and the No. 17 player from the state of Mississippi in the class of 2024, according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

Woodland played on both sides of the ball in high school and had over 1,300 receiving yards as a senior while recording five interceptions and being named the Mississippi 7A Defensive Player of the Year.

Woodland also helped lead Oak Grove to the Mississippi State title in his final season. He had four catches for 61 yards in the title game to cap off a 13-1 season.

“It wasn’t easy,” Baker said. “I promise those first three days before spring break he probably thought, ‘what in the world did I do’ coming here and coming here early. But man, he’s been really impressive these last few days.”

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Will Nickel

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