LSU Football: 5 Players with Most to Gain in Spring Practices
Spring football is a prime opportunity for players to elevate their status and regain momentum toward reclaiming or reaching a starting position.
For LSU, it'll serve as a proving ground for multiple defensive players, as most of the defense left for the 2013 NFL draft.
It'll also serve as a nice setting for running back Kenny Hilliard, who's shining light seemed to fade a little in 2012. A strong performance in spring ball could have him challenge Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue for the starting position.
Along with Hilliard, here are four other LSU football players with the most to gain in this year's spring practices.
1. Kenny Hilliard
It's time for Hilliard to emerge as a superstar again.
In 2011, Hilliard busted through the line of scrimmage, trampled over defenders and found the end zone on nine occasions.
The 2012 season told a different story. Hilliard scored three less touchdowns for the Tigers, and though his production on the ground improved, the overall impact he had on the team was not as apparent.
Hill grabbed the starting job midway through the year and he never relinquished it. He led the Tigers with 755 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, so it will take a lot to steal that starting role away from Hill.
A strong performance in the spring will certainly provide Hilliard with a nice start.
2. Kwon Alexander
Speed and athleticism is what makes Kwon Alexander special.
That very same combination should see him attract plenty of reps this spring, and don't be too surprised to see Alexander catch defensive coordinator John Chavis' eye.
Chavis loves linebackers who are quick enough to cover and track down speedy running backs on the outside. Alexander can.
Alexander proved it against Florida before suffering a season-ending injury. Now, Alexander is healthy and with Kevin Minter moving on to the NFL, the linebackers are a bit shuffled.
Lamin Barrow is expected to attain the middle position, and that leaves an outside position wide open for Alexander to take. Out-performing Tahj Jones in the spring could land Alexander a starting position.
3. Ronnie Feist
Ronnie Feist made a name for himself in spring ball last season.
More specifically, he dominated the big cat drills. After a year of experience, who knows how well Feist will perform in them this spring?
Expect Feist to bulldoze through men once again in these drills. That's all good and dandy, but he has to dazzle the coaches in scrimmages as well.
With Feist's abilities, he looks to become a future starting middle linebacker for the Tigers. As mentioned in the previous slide, the Tigers are missing their All-SEC middle linebacker from a year ago.
Is the future now? Can Feist show up Barrow in spring ball?
4. Jermauria Rasco
The starting defensive end position is Jermauria Rasco's for the taking.
Rasco is going to be a good one, folks. He may not equal the same value as Barkevious Mingo or Sam Montgomery, but he has potential.
In what limited time Rasco has seen the field in his LSU career, he's shown glimpses of greatness with tackles for losses, sacks and a forced fumble.
Now it's time for Rasco to step up and be a game-changer on the outside, much like Mingo and Montgomery were during their LSU careers.
Rasco is a 6'3, 255-pound defensive end with 4.7 40-yard dash speed. The gifts are there. Now it's up to him to piece it all together. How benefiting would it be for him to get it down before August?
5. Ethan Pocic
There's a hole that needs to be filled at left tackle for the Tigers.
Incoming freshman Ethan Pocic could very well win that starting position this spring. Pocic, a 4-star offensive tackle, stands at 6'7" and 280 pounds.
He's also extremely athletic for his stature.
But more importantly, Pocic enrolled at LSU early. This allows him to participate in the spring, and it gives him a tremendous opportunity to get a head start on the learning curve.
Can Pocic learn enough to become the Tigers starting left tackle as a true freshman?