LSU’s Arden Key cleared to play

3 September 2016:LSU Tigers defensive end Arden Key (49) celebrates after the team scores on a pick 6 as the Wisconsin Badgers defeat the 5th ranked LSU Tigers (16-14) at the Lambeau Field College Classic at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. (Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire)
Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire

The key to LSU‘s pass rush will likely be on the field when the Tigers take on Mississippi State this week. Outside linebacker Arden Key has been cleared for the program’s SEC opener, according to LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.

Named a preseason All-American, Key is coming back from an offseason shoulder procedure that has limited him at practice in recent weeks. Orgeron said he’ll keep an eye on the star junior in the coming days.

“I’m going to see how he does this week,” Orgeron said.

Key still has to get himself in playing condition, so he may not be on the field too long against the Bulldogs. Orgeron said freshman K’Lavon Chaisson could handle the pass rushing load if need be. Orgeron also said Key is about 265 pounds right now. The coach prefers he be in the 255-to-260 range.

Regardless of weight and playing time, the Tigers have to be happy to have Key back on the field for real. He didn’t participate in spring drills, taking a leave of absence from LSU for what the school cited as “personal reasons.” He’s back, though, and just about ready to play. The Tigers defense could certainly use his help after Key set the school’s single-season record for sacks with 12 last year.

Key was an all-around nightmare for opposing offenses last season, totaling 55 total tackles, 12.5 of which were for a loss, three pass defenses, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles in addition to all the sacks.

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