3 Underclassmen LSU Fans Need to Watch in 2020

The LSU Tigers are losing a great deal of talent from last years' championship squad, and will be looking to underclassmen to step up.
The LSU Tigers are losing a great deal of talent from last years' championship squad, and will be looking to underclassmen to step up. | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

It is no secret that the LSU Tigers were an absolutely amazing squad last season, going all the way to a national title without losing a single game in the process. They put together one of the best seasons in the history of college football, and no one can take that away from them.

Despite last season's success, the Bayou Bengals will have a great deal of talent to replace on both sides of the ball, and will be looking to its underclassmen to step up.

3. Trey Palmer

Due to the depature of Justin Jefferson, wide receiver Trey Palmer will hope to take on a bigger role in the offense.
Due to the depature of Justin Jefferson, wide receiver Trey Palmer will hope to take on a bigger role in the offense. | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Although LSU does return one of its star wide receivers in Ja'Marr Chase who led the squad with a massive 1780 receiving yards and 20 touchdown receptions, they will be tasked with replacing Justin Jefferson who was taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. This is where wide receiver Trey Palmer will have an opportunity to step in. The sophomore from Louisiana was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and was the top wide receiver in LSU's 2019 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. Due to the Tigers' crowded receiving core that also included wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. and tight end Thaddeus Moss, Palmer only caught a single pass in the 2019 season for six yards. Regardless of his lack of experience, he should have every opportunity in 2020 to become the third wide receiver in LSU's rotation along with Marshall and Chase. And if he lives up to his high school billing, Palmer could certainly surprise some people.

2. Devonta Lee

With numerous departures from the outside linebacker position, Devonta Lee will look to have a successful switch to linebacker from wide receiver.
With numerous departures from the outside linebacker position, Devonta Lee will look to have a successful switch to linebacker from wide receiver. | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Outside linebacker is probably the weakest position on the roster for LSU heading into the 2020 season. K'Lavon Chaisson led the team with 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, but was drafted by the Carolina Panthers No. 20 overall in the most recent NFL Draft. On top of that, the Tigers will also lose Michael Divinity Jr. along with Jacob Phillips, who led the squad in total tackles. With the three best outside linebackers, along with Marcel Brooks who entered the NCAA transfer portal on Friday, leaving the program, it will provide Lee with a chance to see significant playing time this upcoming season. Lee came out of high school in Amite, Louisiana as a 4-star prospect and the tenth best player in the state, according to 247 sports. Lee, who is a very talented athlete, spent his first season in Baton Rouge at wide receiver where he caught two passes for 27 yards. Now, he is transitioning over to play linebacker, and with his athletic prowess and versatility, Lee could turn some heads on the LSU coaching staff.

1. Arik Gilbert

5-star true freshman tight end Arik Gilbert will look to get early playing time in Baton Rouge.
5-star true freshman tight end Arik Gilbert will look to get early playing time in Baton Rouge. | Logan Riely/Getty Images

Thaddeus Moss was a very productive tight end last season and in the opinion of many did not get the recognition he deserved. In 2019, Moss amassed 570 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions, but was not drafted by an NFL team. Despite Moss' snub, LSU will be tasked with replacing its top tight end, which is where incoming true freshman Arik Gilbert comes into play. Coach O and his recruiting staff were able to beat out the likes of Alabama and Georgia for this 5-star recruit from the Peach State. In the 2020 recruiting class, Gilbert was ranked as the fifth-best player in the country, as well as the first in his state and at his position, according to 247 Sports. In his senior year of high school, he recorded a mind-blowing 1860 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns...as a tight end. Gilbert will have to compete with Jamal Pettigrew who is entering his redshirt senior season, but if Gilbert can replicate what he did in high school when he arrives in Baton Rouge, he will certainly make it onto the field in 2020.