Can you smell it in the air?
College football is here as fall practice is under way in Baton Rouge. That means that the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers are just weeks away from taking the field in the team's season opener on Sept.1 against North Texas.
With that top ranking comes plenty of good competition throughout the Tigers' fall camp. But what players are still battling for starting spots this season?
Could there be another Morris Claiborne-like defensive back on this 2012 team?
Let's go ahead and break down five Tigers who will build strong hype throughout the 2012 fall practice time.
Bleacher Report Style!
Name: Lamar Louis
Class: True Freshman
Why the Hype: Louis is a work-out-warrior who has shown the coaches that he can be counted on to play a big role for this LSU football team as a true freshman.
Louis left high school early to join the team this spring and had an exceptional showing during LSU's spring game, which included picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown.
Louis has received a ton of praise from his coaches already, and he is making even more noise this fall.
With the graduation of both starting outside linebackers, don't be surprised to see Louis on the field as a true freshman, which shows just how talented this kid is. He is strong, fast and has the look of true outside linebacker out on the football field.
Name: Tharold Simon
Why the Hype: Simon is a kid who was in the shadow of All-American's Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu last season. But with Claiborne off to the NFL, this will be Simon's time to shine in the LSU purple and gold.
At 6'3", 190 pounds, Simon has great size for a cornerback and the speed and athleticism to make him a true shutdown cornerback at the college level.
Mathieu is the Tigers' most talked about defensive back, but don't be surprised to see Simon line up against opposing team's big-play wide receivers. He has been getting great reviews this offseason and seems more than ready to take on a big role for this team this fall.
When this season comes to an end, look for Simon to receive several All-SEC votes.
He's that good.
Name: Odell Beckham Jr.
Position: Wide Receiver
Why the Hype: Much like Simon, Beckham also played behind two very hyped-up wide receivers last season in Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard. Randle, just like Claiborne, also went onto the NFL, which means that Beckham will be an everyday starter at wide receiver this season.
But from the looks of it, Beckham Jr. is ready to take it to a whole new level this season.
Beckham showed LSU fans signs of greatness last year in limited playing time. He still went on to rank second on the team in receptions (41) and receiving yards (475).
Beckham Jr. has exceptional speed, and while he isn't the biggest receiver, he has a knack for making plays on the football field. Word is that he has already developed a great connection with Zach Mettenberger.
Name: Ronnie Feist
Why the Hype: If there is one common theme throughout this LSU fall camp, it is that LSU's talented freshman class of linebackers will get plenty of chances to make an impression on Les Miles and his LSU coaching staff.
Kevin Minter is the only returning starter at linebacker, as the Tigers' lost Ryan Baker, Karnell Hatcher and Stefoin Francois to graduation. With that said, there are two open spots in that linebacker group, and freshman Ronnie Feist is doing what he can to make a name for himself.
Feist was another guy who enrolled early, has learned the playbook and has the skill and knowledge to step on the field right away for this LSU team. In fact, from a talent standpoint, Feist could be ready to start right now.
Name: Zach Mettenberger
Why the Hype: Make no mistake about it, Mettenberger is under the most pressure of any player on this LSU football team.
Mettenberger has been deemed the "quarterback of the future" for this LSU football program, but he has done a great job accepting that role and handling the pressure thus far. The junior-to-be quarterback has said all the right things to the media and done all the right things on the football field.
LSU head coach Les Miles has made it clear that he plans to air it out more this season and Mettenberger has the arm to back up his coach's bold statement.
Mettenberger's hype will only continue to grow leading up to the Tigers' opening game.