LSU Tigers: Josh Downs

BATON ROUGE, La. -- There's a new wrinkle to the Russell Shepard saga.

The blue-chip, dual-threat high school quarterback turned underachieving college receiver was worked out by NFL scouts Wednesday during LSU's Pro Day at, of all places, defensive back.

"Never played there in my life," Shepard said. "About six teams asked me to work out there. I thought I did pretty good. Like they told me, it's added value."

[+] EnlargeRussell Shepard
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireRussell Shepard showed his versatility at LSU's pro day, working out for several teams at defensive back.
Shepard gave NFL teams reason to look for places he might fit. He excelled during physical testing, joining a list of LSU players who had good days.

Shepard ran a 4.5 electronic 40-yard dash and also had a 38.5-inch vertical leap, results that do not suggest a player who struggled to get involved in LSU's offense in his four years and was so marginalized, he was not invited to the NFL combine.

He wasn't the only Tiger to test well. Running back Michael Ford ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and had a 39.5-inch vertical leap, both results slightly better than his combine results. Linebacker Kevin Minter ran a 4.67 40 and had a 34.5-inch vertical leap, both significant improvements over the combine.

"We were at home," Minter said. "Makes all the difference."

Here are some other notables:

  • Defensive end Barkevious Mingo did not participate in testing, but like former teammate Tyrann Mathieu got involved in position-specific drills.
  • Defensive end Lavar Edwards ran a 4.78 and hit 21 repetitions in the bench press, looking like the next LSU player who might be drafted after not starting for the Tigers.

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BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's only going to look like an all-comer's combine.

LSU's Pro Day on Wednesday will feature a whopping 28 participants, the result of a year where the Tigers sent 13 players to the NFL combine. Among the players will will participate is former LSU player Tyrann Mathieu.

Of the 28, 21 were members of LSU's 2012 team, while seven more participants were members of past LSU teams and are trying to catch the interest of teams as free agents.

Fans can watch the event live on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. ET.

Here are the players who are participating, according to LSU:

2012 team members: DE Chauncey Aghayere, K Drew Alleman, TE Chase Clement, DT Josh Downs, OT Josh Dworaczyk, DE Lavar Edwards, OT Chris Faulk, RB Michael Ford, DT Bennie Logan, C P.J. Lonergan, DB-KR Tyrann Mathieu, DE Barkevious Mingo, LB Kevin Minter, DE Sam Montgomery, S Eric Reid, WR Russell Shepard, CB Tharold Simon, RB Spencer Ware, P Brad Wing, DT Cleveland Davis, TE Tyler Edwards

Past Players (last year at LSU): OG Will Blackwell (2011), LB-DB Karnell Hatcher (2011), OL T-Bob Hebert (2011), QB Jordan Jefferson (2011), QB Jarrett Lee (2011), DS Alex Russian (2011), RB Charles Scott (2009).

LSU D-line's talent trumps experience 

March, 18, 2013
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Anthony JohnsonCrystal Logiudice/US PresswireLSU junior Anthony Johnson (90) will lead an inexperienced D-line into 2013, but the new faces dotting the lineup show plenty of promise.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- For LSU fans who worry about how the defensive line will look in 2013 after the Tigers lost all four starters, seeing Danielle Hunter walk into a room would ease their minds.

Spring preview: Storylines to watch

March, 13, 2013
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As LSU prepares to begin spring practice March 14, GeauxTigerNation will take daily looks at aspects of the spring camp. This is the eighth in the series:

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU begins springs football practice Thursday with plenty of question marks, from adjusting to a new offensive coordinator to replacing the entire defensive line.

Here are the big story lines as practice gets set to start Thursday and continue until the spring game April 20:

1. What's the Cam Cameron effect? It's really going to be hard to pinpoint the Cameron influence on the offense until the Tigers start taking snaps in games next fall.

But if we start seeing Jeremy Hill taking swing passes from Zach Mettenberger and tight ends getting targeted repeatedly in passing drills, we'll know where that came from.

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Spring preview: Positions of need

March, 6, 2013
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As LSU prepares to begin spring practice March 14, GeauxTigerNation will take daily looks at aspects of the spring camp. This is the third in the series:

BATON ROUGE, La. -- If you watched the NFL combine, you saw former LSU defensive linemen and defensive backs lining up to take their turns in drills.

So you want to know the areas of need as we head to the spring?

The combine gave you most of the answers.

Defensive end

Players lost: Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Lavar Edwards, Chauncey Aghayere

Experience returning: Jermauria Rasco

Other candidates: Danielle Hunter, Jordan Allen, Justin Maclin.

Outlook: LSU won't have all of its candidates until August, when a trio of true freshmen arrive. But it'll be interesting to see who emerges out of the four veterans. Rasco worked his way into the top four last season and Hunter was a nice special teams player. Allen is coming off a knee injury. Any strong play from these four would be great news in the spring.

Defensive tackle

Players lost: Bennie Logan, Josh Downs

Experience returning: Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson

Others: Quentin Thomas, Mickey Johnson, Christian LaCouture.

Outlook: LSU is a little more solid here than at end because Johnson and Ferguson have seen plenty of snaps. Ferguson needs to step his game up though. There's a lot of talk that Thomas is a guy who might step up and earn significant playing time, possibly even challenging Ferguson for a starting spot. True freshman Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore will arrive in August. Another freshman, LaCouture, is already on campus.

Lamin Barrow
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireLamin Barrow is one of several options that LSU has to replace Kevin Minter at middle linebacker.

Middle linebacker

Player lost: Kevin Minter

Experience returning: Lots of players, but are there any natural MLBs?

Outlook: This position is more a matter of finding the right guy than finding a guy. Does LSU move weak linebacker Lamin Barrow there? Does D.J. Welter, who was second team in the Chick-fil-A bowl after missing the season for academic reasons, get a shot? How about young Ronnie Feist? There are no shortage of candidates. It's just a matter of finding the right fit.

Left tackle

Player lost: Chris Faulk, Josh Dworaczyk

Experience returning: La'el Collins (could be moved from left guard), Vadal Alexander (could be moved from right tackle).

Others: Jerald Hawkins, Evan Washington, Jonah Austin, Ethan Pocic.

Outlook: Like middle linebacker, there are candidates here, but which one is the best fit? Collins was a highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, but he got comfortable at left guard as a sophomore and there could be a reluctance to move him. Hawkins is a talented redshirt freshman, but do you really want a redshirt freshman blocking quarterback Zach Mettenberger's blind side? Alexander, last year's starter at right tackle, could be an option as well, but that would leave the Tigers having to find a new starter for two positions.


History says LSU will have pros, busts 

January, 29, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- As LSU puts the finishing touches on its 2013 recruiting class, one might ask what to expect from the incoming class.

One way to judge is through history.

Looking at the last three classes to complete their eligibility -- and the first three that existed in the RecruitingNation era (starting in 2006) -- one can see some noticeable patterns.


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LSU Class of 2009 review 

January, 24, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Lamin Barrow, Josh Williford, Tahj Jones and Craig Loston will be looked at as old, old men next year when they enter their fifth-year senior seasons at LSU.

In a program that has made an art of the three-year recruiting cycle, they are only players left from LSU's 2009 signing class that was ranked No. 1 in the country by RecruitingNation.

[+] EnlargeMorris Claiborne
Rob Tringali/Getty ImagesMorris Claiborne was picked No. 6 overall in the 2012 NFL draft, one of several former LSU standouts from the 2009 recruiting class that was ranked No. 1.
That they are gone doesn't reflect poorly on a class that already has three players in the NFL and at least five who are likely to be high picks in the upcoming NFL draft. For those who stayed four years, they enjoyed three consecutive seasons of 10 victories or more, an SEC championship and a trip to the BCS championship game.

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Early exits: Who's next for LSU? 

January, 9, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU has lost nine juniors who have declared for the NFL draft, a total that is likely finished for this year, though there have been reports that left tackle Chris Faulk, who missed all but one game with a knee injury, is considering an early departure.

Assuming Faulk comes back to Baton Rouge, LSU won't lose underclassmen again until next year. Who are they likely to lose? Here are the leading candidates:


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Countdown to Signing Day: DT Bain 

January, 7, 2013
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: DT Maquedius Bain, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School of Nova South, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds

[+] EnlargeMaquedius Bain
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comBy working on details, Maquedius Bain could make an immediate impact at LSU.
Committed: Jan. 2, 2013

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With trio of departures, LSU DL has holes 

January, 7, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- It looks like LSU will be starting over on the defensive line, as expected.

Sources told ESPN's Joe Schad that Tigers junior defensive linemen Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo and Bennie Logan will all leave the Tigers a year early for the NFL draft. Their departures will increase LSU's growing list of defections to eight, but they are hardly the most surprising on the list.

All three have been projected as first-round picks since last spring, so the feeling for most of the 2012 season was that it would be the last for the trio of juniors. With senior Josh Downs holding down the fourth starting defensive line spot for most of the season at defensive tackle next to Logan, that means LSU will be looking to break in an entirely new starting defensive line next season.

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Where LSU will need help: Defense 

January, 3, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- The commitment of Maquedius Bain to LSU on Wednesday made perfect sense.

Bain, the No. 6 defensive tackle in the ESPN 150 and the highest-rated of the Tigers' 24 commitments, figures to play at LSU early. And he'll play a position where the Tigers have a tremendous recent track record for getting players to the NFL. Part of the reason there is a need for defensive tackles in this LSU class (Bain is one of four DT commitments in the class) is the presumed early departure of junior Bennie Logan to the NFL.

If Bain does play immediately, it will continue an LSU trend: Tiger freshmen should come ready to play because many of them will play. LSU used 15 true freshmen in the 2012 season, including four who started and a fifth who was a special-teams starter.

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Countdown to signing day: Greg Gilmore 

December, 31, 2012
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: DT Greg Gilmore, Hope Mills, N.C./South View, 6-foot-4, 285 pounds

Committed: Nov. 8, 2012

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Countdown to Signing Day: Tevin Lawson 

December, 28, 2012
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: OL-DL Tevin Lawson, Denham Springs, La., 6-foot-4, 275 pounds

Committed: March 30, 2012

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Countdown to NSD: Lewis Neal 

December, 19, 2012
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: DE Lewis Neal, 6-1, 230, Wilson, N.C./James B. Hunt

Committed: July 4, 2012

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LSU hopes reputation leads to big weekend 

December, 14, 2012
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BATON ROUGE -- LSU already has a top 10 class, but this weekend the Tigers will be pitching to make it even better.



The Tigers will host a pair of ESPN 150 players on official visits with Maquedius Bain, a defensive tackle from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Priest Willis, a safety from Tempe, Ariz., both scheduled to be on campus this weekend.

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