Bill Haber/Associated Press
Coach Les Miles has a talented team, as usual, in Baton Rouge.
For some programs, a 10-3 season capped by an Outback Bowl win is not a disappointment.
LSU is not one of those programs. The Tigers have established themselves as one of the nation’s premier programs, with a 117-28 record and a pair of BCS national titles (plus another national title game appearance) in the past 11 years.
Les Miles’ bunch doesn’t so much rebuild as reload, with 11 representatives at the recent NFL Scouting Combine.
Junior receivers Odell Beckham (59 receptions, 1,152 yards, eight TDs) and Jarvis Landry (77 receptions, 1,193 yards, 10 TDs) declared early for the NFL draft, but LSU signed 5-star wideout Malachi Dupre and 4-star Trey Quinn, as well as talented prospects D.J. Chark and Tony Upchurch.
The Tigers’ leading returning receiver, Travin Dural, had only seven receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns, but there is no fear of a talent shortage.
Starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger must be replaced. Sophomore Anthony Jennings, who led a comeback win over Arkansas and the Outback Bowl win over Iowa, has the upper hand. However, Jennings completed only seven of 19 passes for 82 yards and an interception against the Hawkeyes, and he’ll receive a spring challenge from highly touted early enrollee Brandon Harris.
Bruising tailback Jeremy Hill left early for the NFL, but LSU signed 5-star prospect Leonard Fournette, the nation's No. 1 overall recruit, per 247Sports.
Defensively, the Tigers must replace departed defensive line stalwarts Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, as well as standout safety Craig Loston. But the infusion of talent should allow LSU to compete in the loaded SEC West.
And after two years out of the BCS spotlight, the Tigers will be hungry to get back this fall.