By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Left tackle K.J. Malone has returned to practice, LSU coach Ed Orgeron told reporters Wednesday evening, but another “setback” had left the Tigers with just eight scholarship offensive linemen midweek through the second week of training camp.
Center Will Clapp and right tackle Toby Weathersby, who missed LSU’s first preseason game with “regular camp injuries,” continue to not practice, Orgeron said.
The coach said both would be back “very soon” but wouldn’t say if the two veterans will participate in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“Toby and Will did not practice today. They should be fine,” Orgeron said. “They’re still battling injuries, but they will be ok.”
Reserve guard Donavaughn Campbell is also presently missing along the already thin line. Orgeron said he sustained a “minor setback” after a big collision and is expected back in the next couple of days.
Here’s the first-team line as it appeared in practice Wednesday, according to Orgeron:
LT: K.J. Malone
LG: Garrett Brumfield
C: Lloyd Cushenberry
RG Edward Ingram
RT: Austin Deculus
Another true freshman is switching from defense to offense.
Defensive end Aaron Moffitt is moving to tight end, Orgeron announced. The son of LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt signed with LSU out of Catholic High.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 266 pounds, Moffitt becomes the second freshmen in as many seasons to move from defensive end to tight end, joining Caleb Roddy.
“He’s tough,” Orgeron said. “He’s a good blocker. We originally thought that he could play defensive end or fullback for us. That’s why he was originally recruited here. We’re very deep on the defensive line. We very thin on offense so we wanted to get some blockers over there and maybe he could help us over there.”
LSU has officially added another rookie pass catcher to the mix.
Destrehan wide receiver Justin Jefferson, the younger brother of former Tigers Jordan and Rickey, has joined camp and participated in his first LSU practices this week. Jefferson signed with the Tigers Monday.
“That was a big signing for us,” Orgeron said of Jefferson. “We had to wait for him to get eligible. He had a tremendous camp. We feel he has a chance to be a good football player.”
Jefferson, who’ll wear No. 32, is listed on LSU’s official roster at 6 foot 2 and 185 pounds. As a high school senior, he caught 44 passes for 956 yards and nine touchdowns.
It’s only been a couple of days, but thus far, Orgeron seems like to like what he’s seen.
“Very smooth, great route runner,” Orgeron said. “He catches the ball well. He’s a good athlete. You know, it doesn’t take long in camp to see the new guys that can really play because they are going athlete talent. Some of them show out and he’s showed out.”
SECONDARY TAKING SHAPE
Orgeron, without prompting, shared a complete corner depth chart.
Juniors Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver will be LSU’s starting cornerbacks in the base defense, as expected. Toliver is on the right side, backed up by sophomore Kristian Fulton, while Jackson is on the left with Greedy Williams (RS Fr) and Jonte Kirklin (Fr).
Nickel back remains a battle at this point, Orgeron said, between sophomore Xavier Lewis and freshman Kary Vincent Jr. Jackson could conceivably slide inside when LSU goes into the nickel, but Orgeron said doing would require an outside corner emerging who could take his place.
Shifting to safety, John Battle remains the starting strong safety. Freshman Grant Delpit has worked more with the first unit at free safety as senior Ed Paris has missed a couple days after getting kicked in the leg.
“He’s done a tremendous job there,” Orgeron said of Delpit. “Todd Harris is also doing a good job there.”
The secondary has lost one reserve as LSU graduate and walk-on cornerback Abraham Wallace tweeted that’d be leaving the program on Wednesday night. Orgeron had mentioned Wallace in the mix at nickel back behind Vincent and Lewis.