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Different paths for Godchaux and Adams

LSU’s Citrus Bowl game against Louisville on Saturday morning could be the last one for two defensive starters – end Davon Godchaux and safety Jamal Adams.

Godchaux is projected to be selected in the third round of the NFL draft if he makes himself eligible. Adams is a certain first-round pick if he gives up his senior season.

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Davon Godchaux
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Adams has told members of the media that he has made no decision about his future, it would be an absolute shock if he returns for another year with the Tigers.

The situation is not as clear for Godchaux, whose mother is in the hospital at this time. Godchaux could return for a senior season at LSU.

“This is not really a difficult time for me,” Godchaux said. “Coach (Ed) Orgeron and (defensive line) coach Pete (Jenkins) let us focus on things now. I am worried about beating Louisville. After the bowl game, I’ll focus on (NFL decision).”

Godchaux is putting together his best season in his third year in the Tigers program. Godchaux, a starter since early in his freshman season, recorded 41 and 42 tackles in his first two campaigns. Going into the bowl game, Godchaux has been credited with 58 tackles in 2016.

Through 11 games, Godchaux has 7½ tackles-for-loss, including 5½ sacks. Those numbers are slightly lower than the ones a season ago – nine tackles-for-loss, including six sacks – when he was playing defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment.

However, this season has not been an easy one for Godchaux. One day after Les Miles was fired as coach in late September, Godchaux was arrested on misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse battery/child endangerment and false imprisonment during an incident with his girlfriend.

Godchaux was suspended from the team by interim head coach Ed Orgeron. The charges were dropped two days later and Godchaux was back in uniform for LSU’s game against Missouri that weekend. Godchaux has been a different player since his off-the-field problem.

In the last seven games, Godchaux has registered 38 tackles. All but two of his tackles-for-loss and sacks have come beginning with the game against Missouri.

“That incident made me more mature,” Godchaux said. “I realized that playing the game of football does not last forever. I had to stay humble and do the right thing. There have been things that have happened to me in the past and they changed me.”

A change on the coaching staff really had a positive effect on Godchaux. Orgeron needed a defensive line coach when he was chosen interim head coach. As was the case in a similar situation at Southern California in 2013, Orgeron tapped Pete Jenkins to handle the defensive line.

“Coach Pete is the best,” Godchaux said. “Just watch my game since we played Missouri. My game went up another level with Pete Jenkins. What he does is simple. We go out there at practice and rep it up a lot. He watches everything you do, especially my feet.

“Coach Pete knows every detail. He’s been doing this a long time and he knows what he’s doing. We come out and do it in practice and then watch we have done on film.”

Godchaux is greatly anticipating the Tigers’ matchup against Louisville and its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. LSU has not faced anyone like Jackson, including Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.

“Lamar Jackson is at a different level than Hurts,” Godchaux said. “He can really pass the ball too. Jackson can really run that offense. I have watched film where all the defenses pursue him to the outside and he’ll make a jump cut and take the ball 60 yards the other way.”

Adams, who has earned All-Southeastern Conference honors each of the past two seasons, is ready for the challenge of keeping Jackson under control.

“We have not faced anyone like Jackson at all,” said Adams, who has made 70 tackles this season. “He’s like Michael Vick 2.0. Jackson has outstanding ability. He can not only run the ball, but he can chunk it down the field. Jackson’s feet are what really get him going.”

Adams has been a solid contributor since he signed with LSU out of Lewisville (Tex.) Hebron High School. Adams, who was a Freshman All-American, has developed into a sure tackler. He can move close to the line of scrimmage and control opposing teams’ running games.

Of course, Adams wished the team would have had more success this year. He didn’t anticipate a four-loss regular season.

“Looking back at it, there was a play or two each game where things could have been different,” Adams said. “We had some tough battles with the SEC gauntlet we go through. At times, we beat ourselves.

“Now, we have to try to get our program back on track. Everybody is going to be watching our bowl game as the first one leading up to the playoffs (on New Year’s Eve). It is not a New Year’s Six game, but it is still a big bowl game. There is no better opportunity than playing the Heisman winner.”


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