LSU Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker
LSU's spring practice has been littered with position battles on both sides of the ball. This puts Les Miles in a bittersweet dilemma.
Miles has to find the right mix of players he trusts in game situations. Luckily enough, he has plenty of talent at his disposal to choose from.
The Tigers have their annual spring game this Saturday. While the game does not count, the players are fighting for the opportunity to run with the first group.
Starting in the spring does not guarantee a start in the season opener against Wisconsin, especially with the incoming class of recruits. But it can certainly helps a player's cause.
Leader: Anthony Jennings
Challengers: Brandon Harris, Hayden Rettig
Analysis: The biggest question mark and storyline this spring for LSU is quarterback. While there is much hype surrounding the battle, it looks as if Anthony Jennings has the edge over his competitors by a comfortable margin.
Jennings' main competition is early enrollee freshman Brandon Harris, who seems to have separated himself from redshirt freshman Hayden Rettig. Harris could be the most athletically gifted signal-caller on the roster.
Jennings and Harris have struggled, but mistakes from young quarterbacks are nothing new for Les Miles. Jennings' game experience and deeper knowledge of Cam Cameron's offense has played a major role in him being the starter right now.
Leaders: Travin Dural, Quantavius Leslie
Challengers: John Diarse, Avery Peterson
Analysis: The post-Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. era has not started the smoothest this spring.
Whether it be dropped passes or injuries, LSU's receivers have had a wide range of issues. LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has been coaching vigorously to get them ready for next season.
Travin Dural seems to be locked in on one side. He is LSU's top returning receiver and Miles has praised Dural for his efforts this spring, according to David Ching of ESPN.com.
John Diarse began spring practice as the starter opposite Dural, but injuries have forced Diarse to sit out. Senior Quantavius Leslie has taken advantage of the extra snaps. In LSU's last scrimmage, he caught four passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns.
Leslie and Diarse have two completely different skill sets. Leslie has blazing speed and is elusive in the open field. Diarse is a physical possession receiver similar to Landry.
Even if Diarse gets healthy for the spring game, expect Leslie to start.
Leader: Evan Washington
Contenders: Fehoko Fanaika, Ethan Pocic
Analysis: Evan Washington is currently slated to replace Trai Turner, who declared for the NFL draft this offseason. Washington filled in for Turner last season after he suffered an injury against Auburn.
The race is far from over. LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes is in his first year. Grimes' fresh set of eyes could lead him to rearrange any of his offensive line positions before the season begins.
Fehoko Fanaika and Ethan Pocic have the size and athleticism to fit the mold. But right now, it is Washington's job to lose.
Leaders: Christian LaCouture, Quentin Thomas
Contenders: Greg Gilmore, Maquedius Bain
Analysis: Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas served as backups to Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson last season. LaCouture and Thomas have been running with the first unit on defense so far this spring.
Greg Gilmore and Maquedius Bain both redshirted last season and are currently the backups. LSU has had a rich history of defensive linemen who redshirt as freshmen and who eventually become NFL draft picks.
Starting at defensive tackle is not as important as other positions because of the high rotation rate. Expect all four to play plenty of snaps next season no matter who starts.
Leaders: Tre'Davious White, Jalen Collins
Contenders: Rashard Robinson, Ed Paris
Analysis: Tre'Davious White seems to have one side of the field locked up at cornerback. White started the final 11 games of 2013 and performed admirably.
Last week, Jalen Collins surprisingly ran with the first group over expected starter Rashard Robinson. That could switch, as Robinson performed spectacularly in his limited snaps last season.
The dark horse is early enrollee Ed Paris, who was expected to play safety. Paris, like White and former LSU standout Patrick Peterson, could eventually work his way to a starter's role. Defensive coordinator John Chavis loves to play his young talented defensive backs.
Leader: Lamar Louis
Contenders: Debo Jones, Ronnie Feist, Kendell Beckwith
Analysis: LSU returns two starters at linebacker. Middle linebacker D.J. Welter is still calling the shots, and Kwon Alexander has moved from strongside to weakside to replace departed leading tackler Lamin Barrow.
In John Chavis' base 4-3 defense, outside linebackers must be able to play everywhere. Alexander seems as if he has one side locked up. Lamar Louis looks like the leader in the clubhouse for the other.
Debo Jones, Ronnie Feist and Kendell Beckwith are all extremely athletic. Beckwith has been transitioned to middle linebacker, but that does not mean he can not still play on the edge.
Last offseason, Alexander was with the second unit. He performed spectacularly in the spring game and was dominant as a reserve to begin last season. His hard work earned him an eventual starter's role.
Jones, Feist and Beckwith could easily do the same.