LSU Football 2012: Wide Receiving Corps Will Surprise Fans with Talent
Though they're not known for having a strong passing game, the LSU Tigers will shock the nation with Zach Mettenberger and their superb wide receivers.
Mettenberger's story has been told a million times, but very few people mention the receiving corps. In fact, if you had to pick a weakness on the offense, the receivers would be picked by most.
LSU has upgraded at quarterback, has 105 games worth of experience returning on the offensive line and has a stable of backs returning that rushed for 2,471 yards and 31 touchdowns a year ago. But when it comes to the receivers, well, they're missing their main attraction from a year ago.
With Rueben Randle getting drafted by the New York Giants, the Tigers are missing a receiver that totaled 917 yards receiving. That's 86 yards more than all of the returning receivers' stats from last year combined. The closest to Randle was Odell Beckham with 475.
So fans have reason to doubt LSU's group of receivers, but make no bones about it—this group is scary good. Though Russell Shepard is the most experienced of the bunch, Beckham will be the top receiver.
Along with his 475 receiving yards as a freshman, Beckham had two touchdowns, and he put on a show in the spring game. The Mettenberger-Beckham connection looked to be in full swing, as Beckham racked up 115 receiving yards, including a 53-yard touchdown.
Speaking of the spring game, did you see Jarvis Landry? The guy who continues to fly under the radar for the Tigers is poised to be a breakout star. In the spring game, Landry led all receivers in yards with 120, and he looks to be a great complement on the opposite side of Beckham.
Add in Shepard to the bunch, and you have three wide receivers who have an incredible amount of speed and can make defenders miss. But what concerns fans the most is not having a lengthy receiver. The Tigers really don't have a threat near the goal line because most of their receivers are 6'0" or under.
This is where Randle was used efficiently last season in games against Oregon and West Virginia. This is where LSU needs some players to step up, and the two most qualified candidates are Armand Williams and James Wright.
Williams is 6'3" and Wright is 6'2". More importantly, they were both heavily recruited wide receivers, and Wright received rave reviews in practice from the late Dandy Don when he was a freshman.
Wright has yet to live up to his potential, as he only had five catches last season. However, with the team going more toward a pass-heavy offense and Randle nowhere to be found, Wright should get more opportunities.
As the season draws nearer and the breaking down of teams continues, more and more people will start to see that LSU's wide receivers shouldn't be looked upon as a weakness. Instead, with the talent returning, they should be feared for their deep-threat capability and big-play abilities.
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