LSU Football: 4 Tigers Who Could Surprise People This Spring

Carter BryantContributor IMarch 3, 2014

Nov 29, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen (10) fumbles the ball between LSU Tigers defensive end Jermauria Rasco (59) and cornerback Dwayne Thomas (13) in the fourth quarter at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Arkansas 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Les Miles will begin his on-field evaluation of his football team when spring practice starts Thursday. Miles will be looking for anybody who can help the Tigers win games next season, even if they are not a household name. 

LSU always finds players that ascend the depth chart to the surprise of everyone. 

Terrence Magee was expected to be the fourth running back on the roster last season. But Magee finished as the second-leading rusher with 626 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He told The New Orleans Times Picayune he kept working hard and patiently waited for a chance to make plays. 

Nov 23, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Terrence Magee (14) runs against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Texas A&M 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

It all started last spring when Magee performed well in practices and scrimmages. He will probably get the bulk of the reps with the first-team offense this spring. 

Stories like Magee's show the beauty of spring ball. Players and coaches get a fresh slate. Depth charts are softly set, especially at LSU where a yearly mass exodus of draft eligible players has become the norm.  

There are plenty of unproven Tigers looking to make a name for themselves. Here are a few who could boost their chances of playing more snaps by having a massive spring. 


Hayden Rettig 

Replacing quarterback Zach Mettenberger will be a tall task. The 6'5'' gunslinger threw for more than 3,000 yards as a senior. 

Anthony Jennings, who played sparingly as a backup last season, is the front-runner. Early enrollee 4-star Brandon Harris is the hottest name. But do not forget about Hayden Rettig. 

Rettig was part of the 2013 recruiting class alongside Jennings. The California kid is not as dynamic of a runner as Jennings, but he has an accurate arm that can make all the throws. 

Rettig will probably begin spring with the second unit and will certainly keep Jennings on his heels. Harris will have to impress if he plans to move ahead of either of the two. 


Fehoko Fanaika

LSU needs to fill the shoes of right guard Trai Turner. There will be a heated competition for who gets that role. 

Fehoko Faniaka is a former junior college transfer, also from California, who will battle for the position as a senior. Faniaka is massive at 6'6'', 348 pounds. He would fit in nicely with the other giants across the offensive line.  

Fanaika will square off against Jonah Austin, Josh Boutte and others for the starter's role. 


Dwayne Thomas

Oct 26, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Dwayne Thomas (13) hits Furman Paladins quarterback Reese Hannon (12) as he throws to cause an incomplete pass during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingl
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Dwayne Thomas gave offenses headaches in limited action last season. Thomas played as a nickelback and dimeback in defensive coordinator John Chavis' elaborate Mustang package. 

Thomas sealed the victory for LSU against Arkansas by forcing quarterback Brandon Allen to fumble on the Razorbacks' final drive. He finished the season with only 10 tackles, but four of those were for loss and two of them forced fumbles. 

Thomas will have his role increased next season. But his name should begin to make some headlines coming out of spring practice. 


Kendell Beckwith

Chavis needs to put the explosive Kendell Beckwith on the field more often. The question Chavis must answer now is where and how. 

Beckwith is listed as a linebacker, but his best attribute is his pass-rushing. Chavis used him some on 3rd-and-long last season. He fits more of a 3-4 outside linebacker mold when LSU's base package is a 4-3. 

Beckwith is a tweener. He might not be suited to play traditional outside linebacker or an every-down defensive end. Chavis will work hard this spring to help find the best answer. 


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