The redshirts are gone from seven LSU freshmen after one game this season.
While some only played a couple of snaps, several first-year players had mega performances in their debuts. We'll break down each player's role, how they played and what that means for them and LSU moving forward.
Toliver played absolutely fantastic in his first real game of college football, despite getting picked on as a freshman. Toliver got the start at corner and played almost every — it not all — of LSU's defensive snaps against Mississippi State.
He was mostly tasked with guarding MSU's No. 2 receiver Fred Brown, and he stuck on his hip throughout the entire game. Brown only had 3 catches for 53 yards, most of that coming on the lone mistake Toliver made all game. Toliver also had a team-leading 6 solo tackles.
Toliver deserves to stay in the starting lineup moving forward, especially with LSU looking like it'll stick in nickel the majority of the time. Toliver proved he can handle himself man-on-man against some very physical receivers, and that bodes well for his future. You couldn't ask for a much better debut, and Toliver should only keep improving from here.
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DE Arden Key
Key didn't start, but he played significantly behind Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal. He got his first career sack on his first career series, coming through clean and laying a big hit on Dak Prescott. He was a steady presence in the backfield, also producing two hurries and a pass breakup. Barring a late offside penalty, Key mostly played mistake-free and let his athleticism do the work. He was the talk of fall camp and proved his ability Saturday.
LSU's lacking in depth at defensive end, so it's huge the coaches can count on Key. He'll play a lot, spelling Bower and Neal at times, but if he continues to play as well as he did, he may make a case for the starting lineup later this season.
LG Maea Teuhema
Teuhema entered the lineup for a struggling Josh Boutte at some point in the second quarter. LSU did give Boutte another try, but the coaches ultimately stuck with Teuhema for the entire second half. LSU slotted him in at left guard and moved William Clapp to the right. Teuhema had some small mistakes you'd expect from a guy in his first game, but overall, Teuhema was outstanding.
Speaking with the other linemen on Monday, they raved about his performance. They said he didn't play like a freshman and seemed very calm, cool and collected during the game.
Les Miles woudn't say whether Teuhema would make his first career start this weekend, but if you base it on last week's performance, he's clearly the better option at this point over Boutte. LSU will need both guys, but the promise Teuhema showed in his first game makes him a great candidate to start despite being only a true freshman.
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RET/CB Donte Jackson
Jackson got to handle kickoff return duties against Mississippi State. He only had two opportunities to return, bringing one 21 yards and the other 18 yards. Neither were exceptional, but it's far too small a sample size to draw any conclusions about his ability. You do see his speed, and if he can find the right lane, he'll return a few for touchdowns before he's done.
Jackson only played a couple of snaps on defense, replacing Dwayne Thomas as LSU's nickelback. He didn't appear on offense despite getting a chance against McNeese State. It's clear at this point though that Jackson's biggest impact this season will be on special teams.
Guice came on for only one play against Mississippi State. LSU did throw his way but Brandon Harris missed on the swing pass. That seems to be exactly how LSU plans to use Guice this season. We saw it in several videos from scrimmages during camp, and LSU also did it against McNeese State. Guice still has to make a mental leap before he can have a bigger role, but getting him involved in the passing game is perfect for him. If he can make one guy miss after the catch, Guice can bust off a big play, so look for LSU to keep that in the arsenal moving forward.
Moreau came in on LSU's goalline package, one of four tight ends used on the "WildBuga" play with Leonard Fournette at quarterback. It was interesting that Moreau traveled to MSU ahead of Jacory Washington, but Moreau's the better blocker so it makes sense they brought him in for that jumbo set. Moreau was one of the last recruits in that 2015 signing class to get an offer, but he's at least carving out a niche in his first season.
Weathersby blocked on LSU's extra points against MSU. He's listed on the depth chart as LSU's No. 2 right tackle behind Vadal Alexander. He's at least an injury or two away from playing on the offensive line, but he's had an impressive fall and earned a place on the depth chart. He has a bright future, and special teams is a good way to get his feet wet in Year 1.
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