LSU Football: 3 Reasons for Optimism About the Tigers in 2022

After missing last season, John Emery Jr. is back and he could be the explosive running threat the Tigers lacked last season

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU Tigers had another subpar football season last year.

LSU went 6-7, which led to a mutual separation between head coach Ed Orgeron and the program after the conclusion of the regular season. The school then swung big and connected, luring Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame to take over in Baton Rouge.

Related: 5 Priorities for New LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly in 2022

As always, LSU fans have high expectations despite the last two seasons. The previous three Tigers head coaches have all won national titles. What will help is the 2022 schedule sets up favorably.

LSU will play eight games in Louisiana, including the season opener in Caesars Superdome against Florida State. Despite Kelly's first season in Baton Rouge, fans will anticipate the Tigers having an excellent season.

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Can LSU live up to the fan's expectations in 2022? It's time to explore three reasons to be optimistic about the Tigers next season.

1. Jayden Daniels

The most exciting recent news came on Sunday when the school announced that Daniels, Arizona State's starter the past three seasons, is transferring to LSU.

Not only is Daniels coming to Baton Rouge, he's also expecting to be on campus in time to take part in spring practice, which is scheduled to begin on March 24.

In 29 games for the Sun Devils, Daniels threw for 6,025 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He also added 1,288 yards and 13 more scores on the ground.

Daniels will have to beat out redshirt senior Myles Brennan, redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier, and early enrollee Walker Howard for the starting quarterback job. Brennan, who missed all of last season after breaking his arm in a freak accident in August, was considered the front-runner for the No. 1 spot. However it shakes out, LSU fans have to be excited about the prospects at the quarterback position, especially with the addition of Daniels to the mix.

2. Brian Kelly

During his lengthy tenure at Notre Dame, Kelly did everything but win a national championship.

He is the winningest coach in Fighting Irish history (113-40), as Kelly made a pair of College Football Playoff appearances and a BCS National Championship Game appearance in 2012. More importantly, Kelly understands how to run an elite program. He also knows how to hire an excellent coaching staff that can go out and recruit.

Related: 5 Newcomers to Watch for the Tigers in 2022

During his time at Notre Dame, Kelly was able to get a Louisiana commitment in five of the last seven recruiting classes, so he understands how to recruit the area. If anyone can win another national championship at LSU, it's Kelly.

3. Running back John Emery Jr. is back with the team

After being ruled academically ineligible and denied a waiver that would allow him to play, Emery is back with the Tigers program, according to running backs coach Frank Wilson.

A top-15 overall recruit and the No. 2 running back in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, Emery put up 566 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in his first two seasons. His return gives him another opportunity to take a step forward and become the next star running back at LSU.

The Tigers also should have more backfield depth this season with Penn State transfer Noah Cain coming on board, as well as Corey Kiner returning. Last season, LSU was second to last in the SEC and 114th nationally in rushing offense at 114.1 yards per game and only 3.3 yards per carry. This should change in 2022 with the changes, both on the roster and coaching staff.

Podcast: Examining Returning Starters and Teams With the Most/Least Talent Returning for the 2022 Season

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.