John Emery Jr. says he’s returning to play for LSU in 2024

John Emery Jr.
Rrunning back John Emery Jr. (4) PHOTO BY: LSU athletics

Former five-star recruit and LSU running back John Emery Jr., who entered the NCAA transfer portal during April’s spring window, is expected to withdraw and return to the Tigers, according to numerous reports and to his own social media post.

Emery’s return could provide much-needed depth at the running back position.

Without Emery, LSU would have entered the 2024 season with just four scholarship running backs on the roster and one of those — redshirt freshman Trey Holly — is dealing with legal issues that could keep him sidelined for the season. This was after the team lost its leading running back from last season, Logan Diggs, to the transfer portal and ultimately Ole Miss.

“I’m Staying Home,” Emery, Jr. wrote on Instagram. As of Sunday afternoon, Emery’s yet to withdraw but formally but he is expected to do so soon.

When he entered in April as a grad transfer, Emery’s departure was the latest blow at the running back position. LSU lost three running backs to the portal this offseason: Armoni Goodwin (UAB), Tre Bradford and Diggs (Ole Miss).

LSU was left with Josh Williams and Kaleb Jackson as its only returning backs. Those two combined for 86 carries for 449 yards and nine touchdowns in 2023. Highly ranked freshman Caden Durham, 247Sports’ No. 6 running back in the class of 2024 likely will feature heavily in LSU’s plans, as well.

Emery was the No. 1 running back in the 2019 class but has yet to live up to that lofty billing. Still, his SEC experience will benefit the Tigers and give the staff another option in the rotation. Emery rushed 23 times for 121 yards and a touchdown in seven games last season before an ACL tear against Florida cut his year short. He missed the entire 2021 campaign and was suspended for the first two games of 2022 due to academic ineligibility. For his career, the now graduate senior has rushed 213 times for 1,062 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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