Jersey numbers are a big deal, especially in Baton Rouge, where No.’s 7 and 18 are earned. Today, LSU Football announced their next No. 18 wearer.
Today, LSU Football head coach Brian Kelly announced that defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo has earned the right to wear jersey No. 18 in 2023. As such, Wingo will switch out from his usual No. 92.
The No.18 is typically awarded to the player recognized as the team’s hardest worker on and off the field. Indeed, the right to wear the digits speaks volumes about Mehki Wingo’s work ethic and the trust he’s established with Kelly’s staff.
Wingo is a 6-1, 295-pound junior from St. Louis (Mo.) who transferred to LSU Football from Missouri after his freshman season. The run-stuffer was an excellent addition after earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2021.
The expectations for Wingo are very high this season as we presume he will combine with Maason Smith to form one of college football’s top interior defensive lines. Such is a task that will begin a game late because of Smith’s Week 1 suspension. As a result, the onus is on Wingo to put on the No. 18 and pick up some of the slack created by Smith’s absence.
The LSU Football tradition of jersey No. 18 started in 2003 when Matt Mauck passed his jersey number to then-freshman running back Jacob Hester. Both players were vital leaders during a pair of (2003, 2007) Tigers’ national championship-winning seasons. As such, the No. 18 carries a tradition laced with responsibility and the expectation to achieve excellence.
Bennie Logan was the first LSU Football defensive lineman to earn the No. 18. Logan earned the number in 2012. The last Tigers defensive lineman to wear No. 18 was Christian LaCouture in 2017.
Linebacker BJ Ojulari carried the honor of jersey No. 18 for the Tigers last season. He departed Baton Rouge for the NFL this offseason. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Ojulari in the second round of the NFL Draft.