Now that the 2012 college football season has come to a close, it is time to look ahead at what might come in 2013.
The LSU Tigers had a solid showing this past season, despite closing out the year with a disappointing loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
The upcoming 2013 season should be an interesting one for Les Miles' team, as the Tigers are going to be forced with the challenge of replacing 10 starters, seven of which were on the defensive side of the ball.
With that said, let's go ahead and take a look forward as we project the Tigers' 2013 2-deep depth chart.
Starter: Zach Mettenberger
Backup: Stephen Rivers
Zach Mettenberger will enter his second year as the Tigers' starting signal caller. He passed for 2,609 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2012. Look for LSU to air it out more in 2013 and Mettenberger's yards and touchdowns to increase now that he has a year of starting experience under his belt.
Rivers will serve as Mettenberger's primary backup, at least the way it stands right now. There are currently four talented quarterbacks on this roster, with two more coming in this year's recruiting class. That will likely mean that someone will transfer, although the 6-foot-7, 212 pound Rivers looks to be the next in line once Mettenberger graduates, so anticipate him staying and maintaining the backup role in 2013.
Starter: Jeremy Hill
Backup: Alfred Blue
After Alfred Blue went down with an injury early in the season, Jeremy Hill stepped into the starting running back spot and performed admirably in that role.
Hill rushed for a team-best 755 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He should enter the 2013 season as the team's starting running back, although you can never be too sure with Miles at the helm.
Remember, Michael Ford and Spencer Ware were expected to be the Tigers' dominant running back duo heading into this past season, and both of them ended up being at the bottom of the depth chart.
With that said, it is still a fair bet that Hill maintains the starting role and Blue serves as his counterpart, assuming he comes back fully healthy from injury.
Kenny Hilliard should also be in the running back mix as well.
Starter(s): Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry
Backup(s): James Wright and Kardon Boone
Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry both had solid years in their first season as starters.
Beckham led the team in receiving yards with 713, while Landry had a team-best 56 catches and five touchdown receptions. Both of them should flourish in this offense next season.
Wright and Boone played second fiddle this season as much was expected of the duo heading into the year. Still, expect them to maintain their roles as the No.3 and 4 wide receivers. Boone has the potential to break out, and next year could be his big year.
Freshman wide receiver Avery Johnson is another candidate who could receive early playing time in this LSU offense, as well as Travin Dural.
Starter: Travis Dickson
Backup(s): Nic Jacobs and DeSean Smith
The Tigers received next-to-nothing from their tight ends in 2012.
However, with the graduation of Chase Clement, LSU will likely look to utilize the tight ends in the passing game more in 2013.
Dickson and Jacobs combined for 13 catches this past season, but look out for DeSean Smith, who is a very gifted pass-catching tight end that could make some noise in this LSU passing game.
If Smith can catch on quick and grasp the offense, this could be a big boost for this LSU offense going forward in 2013.
Starter: La'El Collins
Backup: Evan Washington
Collins has spent his first two seasons playing left guard for LSU, but with the unexpected early departure of Chris Faulk to the NFL, look for Collins to shift over to tackle and take Faulk's spot as the starter on the left side.
Washington was a big recruit coming out in the Class of 2010, but he missed this past season due to academic issues. He is expected back in 2013 and should compete for playing time at left tackle.
Starter: Vadal Alexander
Backup: Ethan Pocic
Vadal Alexander returns as the starting right tackle after taking over that spot midway through the 2012 season. He had a solid freshman campaign and should be one of the most talented linemen in the country when his career is all said and done in Baton Rouge.
Pocic is a talented true freshman who is scheduled to arrive early for the spring semester. That will only help his chances of cracking this rotation early on in his LSU playing career. Rivals.com ranks Pocic as the No.3 offensive tackle prospect in the nation in 2013.
Starter: Elliot Porter
Backup: Ben Domingue
Porter has been tagged as the heir apparent to P.J. Lonergan, the lone graduating senior from this LSU offensive line. He should help solidify this line in the middle.
It will be interesting to see who fills in as the backup center, but right now, it looks like senior-to-be Ben Domingue is the leading candidate.
Starter: Josh Williford
Backup: Josh Boutte
Josh Willford started the season at right guard for LSU before missing time due to ongoing concussion issues. That paved the way for Trai Turner to take over his spot, and both will return this season. Because of that, look for Williford to regain a starting spot, but on the left side of the line, while Turner maintains the right side.
Josh Boutte is another talented freshman prospect who should get the chance to play early and often on this LSU offensive line. Boutte is the No.4-ranked offensive guard in the Class of 2013, according to Rivals.com.
Starter: Trai Turner
Backup: Andy Dodd
Turner took over the starting right-guard spot last year midway through the year and was solid from there on out. He should remain the starter there in 2013.
Dodd is another talented true freshman for the Tigers. Rivals.com ranks him as a four-star prospect and the No.12-ranked guard in the 2013 national class.
Starter: Jemauria Rasco
Backup: Frank Herron
Rasco has been waiting in the wings, as he has been playing behind All-American Sam Montgomery. Now that Montgomery is moving on to the NFL, look for this 6-foot-3, 255-pound junior to take on a starting role.
Frank Herron is a talented true freshman who could see playing time as well with the departure of Montgomery. Rivals.com ranks him as the No.5 strong-side defensive-end prospect in the nation.
Starter: Danielle Hunter
Backup: Kendell Beckwith
Hunter is another young kid who this LSU team is very high on. He had to sit and learn from Barkevious Mingo last season, but now that Mingo is off to the NFL, Hunter should have every shot to win this starting job in 2013.
Kendell Beckwith is an athletic freak and should be a menace off the line for this LSU defense. He will need time to learn the college game, but once he is able to pick it up, this kid will be a force at that outside blitz-end position.
Starter: Anthony Johnson
Backup: Mickey Johnson
Anthony Johnson is a stud who probably deserved to be on the field more than he was last year. He should make an easy transition to being a starter and should dominate the interior of this LSU defensive line.
Mickey Johnson is an unproven kid who will likely be given the chance to prove himself now with the unexpected early departure of Bennie Logan.
Starter: Ego Ferguson
Backup: Greg Gilmore
Ferguson was a big recruit for the Tigers back in 2010, but he hasn't seen a ton of playing time because he was playing behind future NFL lineman Logan. Now that Logan is gone, this should be Ferguson's time to shine and show just why he was such a highly touted prospect when he arrived in Baton Rouge.
This backup defensive-tackle role will likely be filled by a true freshman. Right now, it looks like the leading candidate should be four-star prospect Greg Gilmore, but he will need to add more bulk if he is going to be an everyday player. Look for Maquedius Bain to also be in the mix for a backup role here at defensive tackle for LSU.
Starter: Kwon Alexander
Backup: Lamar Louis
Miles and this LSU staff went all-in on recruiting the linebacker position in 2012, and from the looks of it, they landed some darn good ones. Alexander earned a starting role as a true freshman last season and should excel this year if he is able to stay healthy for a full season.
Louis is a kid who worked his way into the playing conversation as a true freshman as well last year. He is one of those freakishly athletic kids who can rush the passer and also drop back in coverage and play the pass well.
Starter: Ronnie Fiest
Backup: Luke Muncie
With Kevin Minter leaving early for the NFL draft, it should be a great competition to see who grabs that starting middle-linebacker spot for the Tigers. The early favorite has to be Ronnie Fiest, who impressed last year as a freshman and has the makeup of a dominant college linebacker.
Luke Muncie had an up-and-down year last season for LSU. He has played in the middle and on the outside, but will likely be a backup in both spots. That's not to say he won't see the field.
Starter: Lamin Barrow
Backup: Deion Jones
Lamin Barrow had an exceptional junior season for LSU, racking up 104 tackles as the Tigers' starting weak-side linebacker. He will be looked at to anchor a young LSU defense in 2013.
Deion Jones is fast, athletic, and has a natural knack of getting to the quarterback. He led all freshmen in tackles last season, recording 23 stops, despite not starting a game.
Starter: Jalen Mills
Backup: Priest Willis
Jalen Mills was outstanding in his freshman season at LSU and should be the leader of this young cornerback group. Assuming Mills can stay healthy, he could be the next great cornerback for LSU.
This is assuming that Priest Willis commits to LSU, which is a big question mark at this point in time. If he does, this kid has the talent to be one of the top freshman corners in the nation in 2013.
Starter: Jalen Collins
Backup: Tre'Davious White
Jalen Collins is another defensive back, like Mills, who stepped up and made some big plays for this LSU defense in 2012. He earned himself a starting spot after Tharold Simon announced that he will leave early for the NFL.
White is another mega recruit who has already verbally committed to LSU. This kid is rising up recruiting boards and could end up being the Tigers' top recruit when it is all said and done. He is that good.
Starter: Craig Loston
Backup: Micah Eugene
Loston had a breakout season in 2012 and should be an All-America candidate heading into 2013. He is a hard-hitting safety who has a natural knack for making big plays.
Eugene was solid when called upon in backup duty this past season. He should see the field plenty this upcoming year.
Starter: Ronald Martin
Backup: Jerqwinick Sandolph
Martin saw the field a lot this season and he made a name for himself. With the departure of All-America safety Eric Reid, it is now Martin's time to shine in this LSU secondary.
Sandolph wasn't a mega recruit like some of these kids, but he impressed coaches on the scout team last year and should work his way into the playing rotation this season.