2 LSU grad transfers look to make big impacts for the 2020 Tigers

LSU linebacker Jabril Cox (No. 19) and center Liam Shanahan (No. 56)
LSU linebacker Jabril Cox (No. 19) and center Liam Shanahan (No. 56)(Brandon Gallego and Gus Stark / LSU Athletics | LSU Athletics)
Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 at 6:42 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - While nobody expects to see another Joe Burrow, LSU showed the impact a little-known grad transfer could have on its football program and the Tigers have two new ones that look to play big-time roles in the Tigers' success in 2020.

With Patrick Queen now with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacob Phillips with the Cleveland Browns, LSU was looking for some linebacking depth to help some of the returners like Damone Clark. Well, the Tigers found it at North Dakota State, as Jabril Cox is now a Bayou Bengal.

“I had to prove myself, coming from a smaller school,” said Cox. “Going into the SEC, it’s going to be a different ball game, a lot of doubters. A lot of people saying, ‘He’s not ready.’ I’m more of a doer, not a sayer. I’m working for a starting position, working hard to prove I can do it, and not talking as much.”

The 6-foot-4, 231-pound tackling machine was a two-time All-American linebacker and three-time national champion with the Bison. He will look to try to get a fourth ring with the Tigers. He finished his FCS career with 258 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, six interceptions, and three fumble recoveries.

Cox has been named to the Butkus Award and Bednarik Award watch lists.

With Dutchtown’s Lloyd Cushenberry now starting at center as a rookie for the Denver Broncos, LSU took an unorthodox path to find his replacement. Liam Shanahan steps in as a graduate transfer from the Ivy League and the Harvard Crimson.

“So, coming down here for the first time, it’s really a culture shock for me,” said Shanahan. “But at this point, I’m adjusted to it. One thing, the weather. Some of those practices and the humidity was a lot for me to take on early on. The food is awesome down here. Definitely different from what we get up in Boston. I’m really looking forward to feeling what it’s like to play for LSU and be a part of this program. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to come down here and prove myself in the SEC for a program like LSU that has so much tradition and offensive line tradition.”

The 6-foot-5, 304-pounder started 30-straight games on the offensive line for the Crimson, playing on the right side of the ball at both the guard and tackle positions. He was named All-Ivy League first team in 2019 and second team in 2018.

The season-opener with Mississippi State is on Saturday, Sept. 26, and it’s just the first of three games already scheduled on WAFB. There could also be even more from this year’s 10-game sprint to Atlanta.

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