Countdown to kickoff: Five who impressed


GeauxTigerNation writers Gary Laney and David Helman get you ready for the season with a daily breakdown throughout August of what LSU is facing in the fall, from its opponents, to its road trips to who it's recruiting. Today, Laney takes a look at who impressed him most during August camp, which wrapped up Tuesday.

1. QB Zach Mettenberger: The pressure's on the new starting QB and he's responded in the two full scrimmages, throwing seven touchdowns versus two interceptions while completing 30 of 56 passes for 360 yards in statistics provided by LSU sports information. He hit big plays in the first scrimmage and got the Tigers offense into the end zone on red zone possessions in the second scrimmage.

2. CB Jalen Mills: Even before Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the team, Mills was in the mix for serious playing time. Now, he's on the verge of going from an unheralded two-star high school prospect to a starter in what has been perhaps the premier secondary in college football the last few seasons. That he's even in the conversation to pull that off is impressive.

3. LG La'el Collins: It speaks volumes to Collins talent that, when two-year starting left guard Josh Dworaczyk was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing last season with a knee injury, he was asked to become a utility lineman to make room for Collins in the starting lineup. Collins is a beast and the left side of the LSU line with Collins and tackle Chris Faulk could be dominant.

4. RB Jeremy Hill: The battle for playing time at tailback was supposed to be a four-horse race among veterans but true freshman Hill has wedged his way into the mix with his mix of power and speed. Teammates have noted how impressive he's looked at practice and he had a big first scrimmage. Hard to believe, but it looks like the Tigers will enter the season with five tailbacks they feel they can count on.

5. DE Sam Montgomery: The junior defensive end has added quality weight and entered camp at a solid 260 pounds, looking the part of the top five NFL draft picks he's expected to be. Mettenberger noted that Montgomery plays "crazy" with a motor that keeps him making plays. It's going to be a tall order for opponents to get both Montgomery and the other DE, Barkevious Mingo, blocked play after play.