The LSU Tigers find themselves in a strange position this offseason. Usually at this time of year, Tiger fans are looking at another big draft class getting ready to start their NFL careers.
This years draft class is very small, and Jerald Hawkins is the only underclassmen who declared early. Because so much of the depth chart is returning, there aren’t many starting jobs that would be considered open.
There will be plenty of reps to be had though; and with one of the most talented recruiting classes in school history, the competition for playing time will be fierce.
The Early Enrollees
The early bird gets the worm, and the freshmen who show up on campus early get the first crack at earning playing time. LSU has five freshmen already on campus preparing for spring training.
It’s difficult to predict anything for Devin White and Stephen Sullivan because both may be looking at a position switch. White is a 260 pound running back who will remind older LSU fans that are also Saints fans, of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.
White was also one of the top linebackers in the state this year; and his size and speed would make him an ideal replacement in waiting for Kendell Beckwith.
Sullivan is a freakishly talented wide receiver with roughly the same size and build as Carolina Panthers star Kelvin Benjamin. Unfortunately he may not have Benjamin’s hands and could also flip to defense.
Saivion Smith Dee Anderson and Michael Divinity will all have a decent shot at breaking into the rotations at their positions.
With John Diarse transferring out there will be a few more reps open at wide receiver, giving Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan a chance to make their mark.
The Five Star Recruits
Sep 21, 2015; Monroe, LA, USA; Neville High School (La.) defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence poses for photographs in his jersey as part of the 2016 Under Armour All-America Game Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
LSU signed two Five Star recruits in this class, cornerback Kristian Fulton and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence.
Cornerback is loaded with talent and returns every single player on the three deep chart at both outside spots, Fulton’s natural position.
Defensive tackle is nearly as bad, with two entrenched starters and both primary backups returning. Godchaux and LaCouture are both NFL prospects and Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore really came on last year after slow starts.
A quick look at the depth chart says Fulton and Lawrence sit. A quick look at Fulton and Lawrence and all the talent they bring to the table, says watch out.
Position of Need: Linebacker
Jan 2, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Team Armour outside line backer Michael Divinity (35) tackles Team Highlight running back B.J. Emmons (5) during the second half of the Under Armour All American Football Game at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Team Highlight beat Team Armour 27-0. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Divinity will have a head start on the linebacker competition because of his early enrollment. Rahssan Thornton and Andre Anthony won’t be far behind him.
Thronton and Anthony were both listed as Defensive Ends by the recruiting websites but both have a linebackers build and speed.
If the linebacker competition isn’t sewn up in the spring, expect to see at least one of them getting some first team reps in the summer.
Position of Need: Offensive Line
A lot of what happens on the offensive line hinges on the plan for returning center Ethan Pocic. Pocic can play every position on the line. but his frame is best suited for tackle.
Ole Hotty Toddy
If Pocic flips out to tackle, Will Clapp will move in to Center leaving his Right Guard spot open. If Pocic stays inside, both tackle spots are open.
Right now Karl Malone and Toby Weathersby look like the top two tackle candidates after Pocic, with Josh Boutte and Garrett Brumfield the top guard candidates.
The top recruit at tackle is Will Allen and the top guard is Donovaughn Campbell. Both have the talent to start as freshmen, although Allen is a little raw on pass protection coming from the run heavy attack at John Curtis.
Best of the Rest
Kicker Connor Culp may have the best shot at being the first freshman who plays in a game, at least if LSU is kicking off. Culp may not be ready for field goals early, but his big leg is a much needed upgrade on kickoffs.
Eric Monroe is a pure free safety with great size, great speed, and great ball skills. He can challenge for a starting role, right out the gate.
Defensive tackles Ed Alexander and Glen Logan have a chance to push for playing time in the rotation at their position.
For those expecting to see Lindsey Scott, Jr. in a game, he will have a great shot—-three years from now.
Zachary High School QB Lindsey Scott, Jr. — Photo courtesy of sportsNOLA.com
Danny Etling and Brandon Harris both have two years of eligibility remaining.
If Etling wins the competition, Harris has a redshirt available as well.
Lindsey Scott is the QB of the future, just not right now…..