LSU Tigers: Ronnie Vinson

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The loss of five players to injuries and, presumably, academics won't have a major impact on LSU's football season.

Not yet, at least.

[+] EnlargeTahj Jones
Joe Murphy/Getty ImagesLB Tahj Jones (58) has been declared academically ineligible for the year.
LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday in the SEC teleconference that four players -- linebackers Tahj Jones and D.J. Welter, tight end Tyler Edwards and offensive lineman Evan Washington -- won't play this season. Miles would not say why, but has earlier noted that Jones was going through an academic appeal.

He also announced that defensive end Jordan Allen was lost for the season because of ACL surgery.

While that may seem like a lot of attrition to be announced at once, the reality is, it's either been dealt with already or is only an issue for players deep on the depth chart.

Jones is the one player among the five who was a starter. But like Welter, Edwards and Washington, Jones has not dressed for a game this season and most have started working under the assumption that Luke Munice had taken his place as the starting strong-side linebacker for the season. Wednesday's announcement just confirmed that. The loss of Jones, a junior, and Welter, a sophomore, means all of LSU's backup linebackers now are true freshmen.

That would be more of the problem had the 2012 linebacker recruiting class, six players strong, not been considered by Miles to be the strongest linebacker class recruited by LSU in his tenure. So far, true freshmen Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones have played well in reserve roles. Where it could be a problem is if injuries hit the veteran starting trio of Kevin Minter, Lamin Barrow and Muncie, forcing the true freshmen to play bigger roles than they might be ready for.

It's a similar situation at tight end and defensive end. Edwards' role as a primarily blocking tight end behind starter Chase Clement has been replaced by sophomores Nic Jacobs and Travis Dickson and freshman Dillon Gordon. But Edwards is a senior, so his experience will be missed, especially if Clement, also a senior, goes down. Allen was far down the depth chart at defensive end, but his loss would be felt at the position only if the Tigers suffer attrition ahead of him at what is a deep position.

Allen was injured covering a kickoff, an area where the Tigers will have to find a replacement.

Washington, a reserve sophomore who has yet to play in a game, is the second offensive lineman lost for the season after Chris Faulk's knee injury sidelined him last week. With Josh Dworaczyk starting at left tackle, LSU is perhaps eight deep with game-ready offensive linemen. True freshman tackle Vadal Alexander was mentioned as a possible starter after Faulk's loss and coaches have been pleased with the progress of second-team center Elliott Porter.

In last week's win over Washington, Trai Turner got snaps at guard when starter La'el Collins went down with a minor injury.

The losses announced Wednesday pushed the total number of veterans from LSU's spring roster that have been lost for the season to 11. Previous to Wednesday's five, Faulk suffered his injury, Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team, offensive lineman Corey White did not return to the team for August camp and defensive backs Ronnie Vinson, Sam Gibson and David Jenkins all transferred to other schools after the spring.

 
GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

The basics of LSU's secondary are pretty obvious.

Monstrous cornerback Tharold Simon is going to start on one side of the Tigers' defense. Preseason All-SEC safety Eric Reid is going to anchor the last line of defense. If he can keep himself healthy, veteran Craig Loston should hold down the strong safety spot. And fellow All-SEC selection Tyrann Mathieu seems to have an early bead on the other starting corner spot.

GTN Roundtable (June 20) 

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
8:49
AM ET
GTN writers Gary Laney and David Helman discuss issues around LSU football.

Today, they talk about the offseason attrition in the Tigers secondary. Since spring football, defensive backs Sam Gibson, David Jenkins and Ronnie Vinson have left the program to transfer to other schools.

[+] EnlargeTharold Simon
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezTharold Simon will help LSU's secondary remain as one of the best in the nation.
Question: Does the offseason attrition in the secondary hurt LSU?:

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LSU loses two more DBs

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
1:15
PM ET
LSU has lost two young defensive backs from its roster and has lost three since the end of spring practice.

Sophomore safety Sam Gibson and redshirt freshman cornerback David Jenkins have both left the program, LSU sports information confirmed in an e-mail Tuesday. It did not specify where the two players will transfer.

Gibson, a native of Prattville, Ala., played in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2011, making three total tackles. Jenkins, a native of Jena, La., who graduated from high school in Carrolton, Texas, did not play in the 2011 season.

(Read full post)

GTN mailbag: May 24 

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
9:53
AM ET
GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney answer your questions in our first mailbag, answering your questions on football, recruiting and basketball.

Today's topics include:

  • Tyrann Mathieu's chances of contending for another Heisman Trophy

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