Tuesday, April 30, 2013
LSU 10: Post-spring top 10
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With LSU's spring practice and the NFL draft done, who are the Tigers' top 10 players? Let's see.
Lamin Barrow seems poised to become the leader of the LSU defense in 2013.
1. LB Lamin Barrow: LSU had eight players drafted from its 2012 defense and Barrow, with 104 tackles last season, was more productive than many of those guys. A starter at weakside linebacker in 2012, he should end up as the Tigers' middle linebacker and defensive leader.
2. QB Zach Mettenberger: The senior had a good spring, throwing for big yards in touchdowns in all of the scrimmages while looking mostly comfortable in Cam Cameron's offense. LSU might lean on its passing game more this season.
3. LT La'el Collins: The junior started every game last season at left guard and made strides in adjusting to tackle in the spring. With a good summer, he can emerge as a top-tier SEC offensive lineman.
4. DT Anthony Johnson: The only player in our top 10 who was not a 2012 starter, Johnson was productive as LSU's third defensive tackle. As the defensive line's most accomplished returning player, he has embraced a leadership role.
5. WR Odell Beckham Jr.: One of two returning starters at wide receiver, Beckham is rated highest for his big-play ability and his ability to make plays as a punt returner. The two-year starter also led the spring game in receiving.
6. WR Jarvis Landry: LSU's leader in receptions last season, Landry continued to provide similar production in the spring. Landry possesses the best hands on the team and we like him in the role as Mettenberger's chain-mover.
7. SS Craig Loston: The biggest knock on Loston's career has been his inability to stay healthy. But Loston, one of two returning starters in the secondary, is coming off a solid and injury-free spring.
8. OG Trai Turner: Turner entered the Florida game last season as a wide-eyed redshirt freshman injury replacement, but by season's end he looked comfortable as a starter. Expect steady, veteran play from him this year.
9. OG Josh Williford: Williford is this year's Josh Dworaczyk, the senior utility lineman whose knowledge as a starter will find him a prominent role. He'll replace Collins at left guard and also will be the first option as a backup center.
10. RB Jeremy Hill: Make no mistake, if not for his indefinite suspension from the team after he was arrested following a fight outside a Baton Rouge bar, Hill would be at the top of the list. If he makes it back from his legal issue, the team's leading rusher as a freshman in 2012 will be the centerpiece of what will still be a power-running offense.
Just missed the cut: It was tough to leave returning starting CB Jalen Mills off the list, as he'll likely blossom as a sophomore. Right tackle Vadal Alexander, like Mills, started as a freshman last season. Fullback J.C. Copeland is one of the country's best lead blockers and, if healthy, Alfred Blue can be every bit as effective at running back as Hill.