LSU Football: 4 Players with the Most to Gain in Spring Practices

Carter BryantContributor IFebruary 28, 2014

Corey Thompson will battle for a starting safety position this spring.
Corey Thompson will battle for a starting safety position this spring.247Sports

Les Miles is ready for his LSU Tigers to strap up the pads. Miles knows his team has a ton of work to do. 

LSU loses a heavy load of talent on offense. Replacing quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back Jeremy Hill, right guard Trai Turner and receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry will be brutal.

The Tigers have holes to fill on all three levels of the defense. LSU finished the season strong but were exposed in conference play too many times.

Playing time is up for grabs on both sides of the ball. Spring battles this season will be as fierce as ever. Here are a few players who are looking to ascend the depth chart in March. 


Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris is one of two early enrollees at LSU. The 4-star dual-threat quarterback will battle Anthony Jennings and Hayden Rettig to be the starter next season. 

Jennings is the only quarterback that returns with experience. He was heroic against Arkansas but less than stellar in the Outback Bowl against Iowa in place of an injured Mettenberger. Rettig redshirted last season.  

Harris has a vast skill set. He loves to run, but only when necessary. His tape shows he loves to sit in the pocket and wait for receivers to get open. 

Jennings looks to be the leader right now, with Rettig as the backup. But Jennings will get the chance to take over the reins. 


Avery Peterson 

Landry and Beckham Jr. were remarkable in 2013. They are the only receiving duo in LSU history to go over 1,000 yards each in one season. The search for who will replace that production begins now. 

Wide receiver Avery Peterson probably would have seen the field had he not broken his ankle last fall. Spring will be critical for Peterson as he looks to get into game condition. He has the talent to be the next breakout star for the Tigers. 

LSU's top returning receiver, Travin Dural, only caught seven passes in 2013. Peterson can establish himself as the No. 1 target in the spring if he is able to stay fully healthy. 


Corey Thompson 

Senior safety Craig Loston is gone, which leaves open a starting role at defensive back. Corey Thompson was a part of a revolving-door rotation at safety, finishing with 40 tackles in 2013. 

At 6'2'', Thompson is a hard-hitting monster with decent range. He saw his snaps change sporadically during 2013 due to inconsistencies in the secondary.  

Ronald Martin, Rickey Jefferson and 4-star early enrollee Ed Paris will battle for snaps in the spring. Thompson will need to establish himself quickly if he wants to stay on the field.


Redshirt Defensive Tackles  

Defensive tackle could be the biggest mystery position for the LSU defense next season. Who will fill the shoes of Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson?

Backups Quentin Thomas and Christian LaCouture return, but neither made many plays last year. Practices could be a little more physical than years past as players fight for snaps.

Greg Gilmore, Maquedius Bain and Frank Herron all redshirted last season. They are now hungry to make plays. 

LSU has quite the history with defensive linemen that redshirt. The starting front four in 2011—Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo, Bennie Logan and Michael Brockers—all redshirted as freshmen. They were all eventually drafted in the third round or higher of the NFL draft.

Herron, a 4-star recruit from the 2013 class, will have a bright spotlight. He was listed as a defensive end last season, but he could move inside. Brockers and Logan made the same transition in their college careers.  


All rankings and statistics via 247Sports

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