For LSU senior defensive tackle Josh Downs, the LSU-Ole Miss matchup on Saturday will be unlike anything he has ever experienced before. Saturday will mark the last time that the 6-1 287-pound Tiger has the opportunity to run out onto the field under the lights of Tiger Stadium.
While it won’t be his final game as a Tiger, it will be the beginning of the end for a college career that never truly got to showcase all of the player’s abilities due to injuries. To say the least, Saturday will be a very emotional day for the former Bastrop High School standout, who has 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss on the season.
Heading into Saturday, Downs has one goal in mind.
“I’m trying to get my mind right heading into the game for the guys and for the team,” said Downs.
On top of getting his mind right, Downs is also preparing himself for the rush of emotions he will experience when he runs out of the tunnel for his last game in front of the home faithful.
“I’m sure it will be emotional just because it will be my last time getting to play along side the guys on our field and run out of the tunnel into Tiger Stadium,” said Downs. “I’m really going to miss the fans that we have in that stadium. It well definitely be emotional for me.
“I’m pretty sure it will hit me pretty hard, knowing it will be my last game in Tiger Stadium and my last opportunity to run out of the tunnel under the lights.”
After spending four years as a Tiger and facing a lot of adversity with so many memories, Downs explained that he can’t put his finger on one memory that will stick with him. Instead, Downs believes that his entire time at LSU and with his teammates will stick with him for years to come.
“I think my favorite moment of being a Tiger is every Saturday night that I get an opportunity to play beside the guys that I practice with and have grown up with and really grown to love over my four years as a Tiger,” said Downs.
Downs said that his most exciting moments at LSU came when he had the opportunity to not only watch people grow up, but also be the one to help younger players accomplish that.
“Just seeing the guys grow from my freshman year to now and watching all of the older guys train the younger guys to perfect our crafts has been great to see,” said Downs. “Just so that when everyone gets older they know their position and what they need to do.”
Downs has really enjoyed the opportunity to have young players learn from him and, he is very happy with how far they have come this season.
“I try to do my best to pass my knowledge on to younger guys,” said Downs. “Guys like Ego Ferguson, Anthony Johnson, Quentin Thomas and Mickey Johnson are people that I try to pass my knowledge on to.
“They have been great. If they have any questions about anything I try to help them out with technique or just plays in general. They have been great this year and they are really starting to come of age.”
With Downs having such an injury-riddled career, he’s been forced to overcome a lot of adversity, something he believes would not have been possible without the support of his teammates.
“I don’t think there is any difference between this year and the others,” said Downs. “I think I was just a little more unfortunate in previous years with injuries and things. I have my teammates around to pick me up about those things I’m trying to do and get back to the game. This year, I had tweaked my ankle early in the season, but those guys picked me up and helped me get back quickly.”
LSU will have 14 seniors making their last run out of the tunnel and into Tiger Stadium on Saturday, and, if Josh Downs has anything to say about it, it will be a memorable day for all 14 of them.