Thursday, March 7, 2013
Spring preview: Instant impact?
By Gary Laney
LSU freshman receiver John Diarse might see some early playing time.
As LSU prepares to begin spring practice March 14, we'll take daily looks at aspects of the spring camp. This is the fourth in the series:
BATON ROUGE, La. -- At LSU, things happen quickly.
Players leave early for the NFL in Baton Rouge at a greater rate than just about any program in the country, so young players better come ready to play. In LSU's 2013 signing class, eight of the signees enrolled for the spring semester. Here they are and how they might fit in:
TE Logan Stokes: The junior college transfer has been brought in to contend to start. In a way, he's a solid prospect in terms of being a big body who will continue the Tigers' tradition of having physicality at the position. On the other hand, he didn't catch many passes in junior college, something LSU thinks will change as his ball skills get matched up to a more prolific passing game.
OG Fehoko Fanaika: LSU's other junior college transfer might also contend to start, but much of it depends on what LSU does with the offensive line. If LSU keeps La'el Collins at left guard, Fanaika would likely be a reserve in his first season. If Collins slides over to left tackle, which many suspect he might, then the hulking Fanaika would become a candidate to start at left guard.
WR Avery Johnson: The younger brother of Patrick Peterson enrolled after spending the fall semester in prep school. He has good size and the potential to push for playing time at wide receiver.
WR John Diarse: The former high school quarterback was able to get a jump start on learning a new position by enrolling early. A strong athlete with tremendous ball skills, Diarse may be a year away from competing for significant playing time, but he has the physicality to contend for playing time.
QB Anthony Jennings: One of two quarterbacks added to the 2013 roster, Jennings will get a jump start learning the offense. He excelled at the Elite 11 last summer, dispelling the notion that he's a dual-threat quarterback who is a shaky passer.
QB Hayden Rettig: The other quarterback missed most of his junior season because of injury, but came back with a solid senior season. He'll contend with Rettig and two underclasssmen to be the Tigers' quarterback of the future after this season.
OT Ethan Pocic: With LSU looking for a new left tackle, Pocic will have a chance to make his pitch straight out of high school. Tall and long with a perfect tackle frame, Pocic can use the spring to battle for the same kind of quick playing time that Vadal Alexander saw as a true freshman in a 2012 season when he became the starting right tackle midway through the season.
DT Christian LaCouture: The Tigers lost both their starting defensive tackles last season and the talented LaCouture, the son of a former hockey star for Maine's 1993 NCAA championship team, has a chance to make a run at the top four at his position, which would mean playing time in defensive line coach Brick Haley's four-man rotation.