The LSU 2021 running back room is filled with talent. Last season, the Tigers struggled with running the ball as the team dealt with injuries on the offensive side of the ball. But heading into 2021, the Tigers are loaded at the position and a few newcomers could stand out.
First, Tyrion Davis-Price led the way with 446 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 104 carries. John Emery Jr. finished 2020 with 378 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 75 carries. The junior did battle injuries but still managed to be a solid back when the Tigers needed him. Emery Jr. missed the National L Club Spring Game in April with an injury. As the season approaches, LSU is set up for success in the backfield. Chris Curry, a projected star at LSU, only had 145 yards on 45 carries. He transferred to Utah in the off-season.
LSU 2021 Running Back Outlook
The 2021 recruiting class saw the Tigers sign two running backs in this year’s class. Five-star recruit Corey Kiner and four-star prospect Armoni Goodwin are two outstanding runners that can elevate the rushing game. Kiner has been raved about ever since he signed with the Tigers. Goodwin has a strong upside to his game and runs with power and has a quick burst of speed.
The additions of Kiner and Goodwin will be key for the Tigers moving forward. With the Summer and Fall just around the corner, there could be an open competition at the position before the first game on September 4. However, the starting role could still be split between Davis-Price and Emery. The odds of Kiner taking over the role aren’t low, but he has been impressive in practice. If the two main starters fail to remain healthy or get back to normal, then either Kiner or Goodwin could take over.
Possible Open Competition
The Tigers have so many running backs on the roster that it could pave the way for multiple tailbacks to see playing time. The two freshmen will almost certainly play in the home non-conference games in September. LSU hosts Central Michigan and McNeese State on back-to-back weeks. But Davis-Price and Emery Jr. are still the two favorites to share the rushing roles as of now. Both of those players have the most experience, although at this point the inexperience could take over in Baton Rouge at numerous positions.
Should the Tigers go back to relying on the running game, the numbers will certainly improve. But, there still could be an open competition in Fall camp. All eyes may be on the quarterback spot, but the running back competition could be one to keep an eye on.
As the season draws near, LSU is under new coordinators on both sides of the ball. New offensive coordinator Jake Peetz may go pass-heavy. However, giving the running backs their fair share of carries could make or break the offense this year. 2020 was a down year in terms of running the ball. In order to have a successful season, the Tigers have to distribute the ball in the backfield more than 200 times this season. The LSU 2021 running back depth chart will be interesting to see before September arrives.