LSU Football: 5 Most Important Redshirt Freshmen and Transfers

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IApril 27, 2012

LSU Football: 5 Most Important Redshirt Freshmen and Transfers

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    LSU redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Rivers is one of the most talked about quarterbacks in the SEC, although he has yet to take a single live snap in a college football game.

    Rivers, the brother of NFL star Philip Rivers, arrived in Baton Rouge last season and learned behind seniors Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.

    This season, Rivers is expected to the primary backup to Zach Mettenberger, who has thrown a total of just 11 passes in an LSU uniform.

    But Rivers isn't alone in this equation as there are several other important redshirt freshmen who could see significant playing time for the Tigers in 2012.

    Let's go ahead and break down five of those players who might hear their name called next season.

Trai Turner

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    Trai Turner was a highly touted 4-star recruit who stared as an offensive lineman in high school.

    Turner arrived last season playing behind two senior guards, but now guard is an open position for this LSU team heading into 2012. He will have a ton of competition with other studs such as Josh Williford, La'el Collins and Josh Dworaczyk, who missed last season with an injury, but Turner is too good to keep off the field for another season.

    He may not be a starter to start the season, but Turner is an important piece to this LSU team in the upcoming season. 

David Jenkins

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    David Jenkins was a huge recruit for LSU in 2011 out of Texas, but he redshirted this past year because LSU was loaded at the cornerback position.

    When you have Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu starting for you, there is no need to rush this kid in and now he should be ready to play in 2012.

    Jenkins will probably play behind starters Mathieu and Tharold Simon, but anyone who watches LSU closely knows that this team loves to play three to four different cornerbacks per game, which is a good sign for this talented kid.

Micah Eugene

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    The LSU Tigers don't have many question marks heading into the 2012 season, but safety might be one of them.

    LSU lost Brandon Taylor to the NFL this season, but Eric Reid still remains and should fill the free safety spot. But what happens at strong safety will be interesting.

    The obvious answer is Craig Loston, who was a monster recruit and just hasn't seen the field much up to this point. But Loston has constant injury problems which have prevented him from seeing the field. Loston got hurt again this spring, which could open up a spot for a guy like Micah Eugene to see the field in 2012.

    With Loston's injury history, this could be a big year for Micah Eugene.

Jalen Collins

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    Jalen Collins was rated a 4-star player coming out of high school in 2011, but again, like Jenkins, he came into a tough position because the Tigers were loaded at defensive back.

    Of course, this LSU team still has Tyrann Mathieu, but the Honey Badger often moves to nickelback on blitzing downs. When that happens, you could see Collins move into the cornerback spot opposite of Tharold Simon.

    On this list, Collins is a guy who could very well see the field more than anyone. 

    He's not going to be Morris Claiborne, but he could be a very good player down the road for this LSU Tigers team.

Stephen Rivers

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    Jordan Jefferson is gone.

    Jarrett Lee is gone.

    That leaves Zach Mettenberger and Stephen Rivers as the two quarterbacks of this LSU football team in 2012.

    Right now, it looks like Mettenberger has the starting QB job all but locked up, but Rivers is undoubtedly the backup and will be the next in line.

    With neither him or Mettenberger having much, if any, experience in an LSU uniform, the backup quarterback role is a very important one for LSU in 2012.