And so it begins...
Spring football is officially underway, and LSU's annual spring game is less than two weeks away.
As the practices continue in preparation for the spring game, you begin to realize how special this time of year really is. The best part about spring football is how you begin to get to know the team.
There's Danielle Hunter, who didn't even begin playing organized football until his sophomore year in high school. This is a kid who arrived at LSU in 2012 with the reputation of being a raw, defensive end prospect who needed to put on some more muscle before even thinking about seeing the field.
Now, two years later, Hunter is up to 240 pounds and looks and plays like the man he sat behind and learned from for two years, Barkevious Mingo. He is expected to take over Mingo's starting role in 2013 and be this LSU team's rush end specialist.
Then there's Jemauria Rasco, who enters his third year in the program, but has received limited playing time up to this point. He is expected to take over the other starting defensive end role after serving his time as a backup over the past two seasons.
On offense, perhaps the freshest story of them all is that of Jeremy Hill, a guy who wasn't even listed on the running back depth chart heading into last year. After a season-ending injury to Alfred Blue, Hill worked his way into the rotation and never looked back. Hill was like watching one of the E-Trade commercials with the baby that starts talking really early and is running his own investment portfolio shortly there after.
Yes, the Tigers face the challenge of replacing 10 starters from last year's 10-2 team. But think of how much talent this team has waiting in the wings. Before you can get on the football field, you have to prove that you can play in live-game stations. Guys like Hunter and Rasco will have that chance in the annual spring game on Saturday, April 20.
LSU has always been a top-tier football program, and that should be no different heading into this 2013 season. Success has been a mainstay in Baton Rouge since Les Miles arrived back in 2005, and fans have every right to expect that standard from here on in.
Years from now, this may be remembered as just another spring football session. But it also should be remembered as the start of a new look, bright future for this LSU football program.
Last year's team made their mark, and now, at least seven players from that 2012 team are expected to hear their name called in this month's NFL Draft.
We are onto the next chapter in this entertaining, thrilling novel known as "LSU Football."
And this 2013 team will now have the chance to write their own chapter in that novel.