BATON ROUGE, La. -- A brand-new version of LSU's football team will take the field this week for its first spring practice.
In previous weeks, we've broken down several players and position groups to watch this spring. As we lead up to Saturday's first team workout, we'll make five predictions this week related to the Tigers' upcoming practices.
Today's prediction: Rashard Robinson's rise continues
When he missed all of LSU's preseason camp last year -- the NCAA did not clear him to enroll at LSU until the end of August -- it might have seemed like Robinson would inevitably redshirt simply because of lost time.
He missed one game, played three days after he officially qualified, but otherwise appeared in each of the remaining 12 games on the Tigers' schedule. That's how good Robinson already looked to LSU's coaching staff.
After starting two of the Tigers' last three games -- including a star-making turn against Texas A&M's Mike Evans -- Robinson's ascent will only continue this spring.
At a school known for producing All-America cornerback talent -- including Patrick Peterson, an alum of Robinson's Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely High School -- Robinson has the makings of the Tigers' next star.
Take a look at how the then-freshman acquitted himself against Evans, in his first career start, no less. The Tigers played a nickel defense for much of the game, looking to contain Evans, Johnny Manziel and the other members of the Aggies' explosive offense. That meant Robinson -- all 163 pounds of him -- would go against 6-foot-5, 231-pound Biletnikoff Award finalist Evans for most of the afternoon.
All Robinson did was grab his first career interception and hold Evans to three catches for 13 yards before Evans closed the day with a 38-yard reception against a different LSU defender once the Tigers had already built a 24-point lead. Evans had been enjoying one of the most dominant seasons by a wideout in SEC history, finishing the season with 1,394 receiving yards and an average of 107.2 per game.
But Robinson more than held his own, and he seems likely to do that more and more often now that he's had a year on campus to get settled. Once he adds more size to his lanky frame, we're looking at a guy who could become an All-SEC performer, an All-American and possibly the next Tigers cornerback to make a name for himself in the NFL.
It's early still, of course, but Robinson looks like he could become one of those guys. Our bet is that his rapid ascent continues this spring.