First-year LSU head coach Brian Kelly arrived in December and immediately realized the 2022 roster required a major overhaul. There were opportunities for players to come in and immediately get significant reps.
The Tigers signed 15 prospects for the ’22 class and added 15 additional players through the portal. As expected, many of these transfers will be relied upon heavily.
Two areas of urgency, the offensive line and the secondary, needed to be addressed with proven entry-level talent. Kelly and his staff brought three potential starters into each group.
Here are the top 10 newcomers who should play major roles for LSU this season.
SS Joe Foucha (5-10, 210) transfer from Arkansas.
The senior has played in 44 games for the Razorbacks with 33 starts, accumulating 231 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 17 pass breakups and five interceptions. The three-star prospect in 2018 from McDonogh 35 will be looked to as a leader this season and set the tone in the Tiger secondary. He was the team captain at Arkansas, considered to bring leadership, energy and excitement to the team. He was always jumping and talking. He was nicknamed “Little Badger” by Razorback teammates.
DT Mekhi Wingo (6-0, 292) transfer from Missouri
The sophomore has a hot motor, uses his hands very well and keeps his feet moving. Last season, Wingo recorded 27 stops, two for losses and one sack. His big highlight was a 40-yard touchdown catch against North Texas. an explosive athlete with a high football IQ, he can line up anywhere on the defensive line. Wingo played for LSU cornerbacks coach Robert Steeples in high school, where he was the Missouri Class 6A State Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
RB Noah Cain (5-11, 225) transferred from Penn State
A junior this season, Cain is a tough runner between the tackles but also a good receiver out of the backfield. He set a Penn State freshman rushing mark with eight touchdowns, breaking the previous record held by DJ Dozier and Saquon Barkley. He was the first Nittany Lion freshman to post back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Kane, a Baton Rouge native who prepped at IMG Academy, is the cousin of former LSU star Michael Clayton, who spent eight years in the NFL. A four-star prospect in 2019, Cain was a two-time Academic All Big Ten. Injuries derailed his career in Happy Valley. Cain has a great character.
LG Tre’Mond Shorts (6-5, 340) transfer from East Tennessee State
An experienced FCS All-American starter at left tackle, Shorts hopes to impress in the SEC in 2022, his final season. Grader, he competes as a guard for the Tigers. He has 41 career starts (40 straight) spanning almost 2,700 snaps. He graded out as a consistent pass blocker (90% in ’21; 76.3% as a run blocker). As his size suggests, Shorts is a powerful space-creating blocker.
OL Myles Frazier (6-5, 325) transferred from Florida International
The redshirt sophomore was a Freshman All American in ’21 at left tackle. Frazier can line up at either guard or glass, but he appears to have been slotted at right guard coming into the spring. Considered the 22nd overall transfer prospect this offseason, he drew offers from LSU, Ohio State and Florida State.
LT Will Campbell (6-6, 324) 2022 four-star signee from Neville High
Perhaps the biggest overall surprise of spring practice from start to finish, the early-entry Tiger looks to be on track to be a true freshman after a strong collection of spring practices. Wearing a Tiger jersey was his childhood dream. Extremely mature and advanced, Campbell has created extremely high expectations that he could be another Andrew Whitworth, Lance “Big Daddy” Smith or Saahdik Charles. All were freshman left tackles at LSU, later advancing to the NFL. Campbell has done it before; he started as a freshman at Neville and never left the field. He plays behind his pads and doesn’t let his emotions get him too high or too low. Very stable and solid technique, Campbell will only improve with repetition.
CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse (6-2, 201) transfer from Oklahoma State
A senior this season, JBC could be the best overall addition coming through the transfer portal. Playing in 51 games at Oklahoma State with 47 starts, he totaled 216 tackles, 24 passes, seven tackles for loss and four sacks. Very versatile and sharp, Bernard-Converse was named All Big 12 Academic twice. Pro Football Focus had him allowing just 50% of passes completed in his zone as an outside corner. The former Evangel Christian Academy star is back on Louisiana soil after leaving as a three-star prospect in 2018. A willing player with a nose for the ball, he recorded 14 stops against Texas Tech as a true freshman. Bernard-Converse is expected to be a leader in the locker room.
CB Greg Brooks, Jr. (5-9, 185) transfer from Arkansas
A senior in ’22, he prepped at West Jefferson. His father, Greg, played with the Cincinnati Bengals. In 31 starts for the Hogs, the younger Brooks collected 112 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups and four interceptions. He picked off a pass against Mississippi State and returned it 69 yards for a score. Brooks will bring a wealth of experience to the Tiger secondary thanks to over 1,700 SEC defensive snaps over the past two seasons. He tops the depth chart at nickel corner.
QB Jayden Daniels (6-3, 180) transfer from Arizona State
The junior has a skill set unmatched in the talented LSU QB room. He is a legitimate threat that Brian Kelly will use. Daniels played in 29 contests for the Sun Devils, passing for 6,025 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In 2021, he also rushed for 710 yards. While at Cajon High in San Bernadino, California, he accounted for 14,007 passing yards and 170 touchdown passes, adding 3,645 yards on the ground and 41 scores (6.4 yards per carry). The dual threat should play a role in LSU’s offense, either as a starter or a change of pace quarterback. The defense will be forced to count him as a runner. Selected as the 2019 Sun Bowl MVP, Daniels was 12 of 28 passing for 195 yards plus 12 carries for 36 yards in the Sun Devils’ 20-14 victory. He is the most experienced college starter at the position on LSU’s roster.
OLB Harold Perkins (6-2, 220) signed five stars for 2022.
A native of New Orleans, Perkins was considered the best player in the state of Texas and the crown jewel of the Tigers’ class. Too talented to sit on the sidelines this season, it’s only a matter of time for Perkins. Tiger fans are hoping his time in Baton Rouge can mirror that of two notable former quarterbacks in program history who excelled as true freshmen, Brady James and Trev Faulk. Perkins plays with an attacking style, showing impressive pursuit skills. He is a surefire outfielder with 4.49 speed. Perkins can match up with a running back, wide receiver or tight end in coverage.