LSU Football: 5 Players to Watch in LSU Spring Game
The LSU spring game is fast approaching, which means football-hungry fans in Baton Rouge will be reunited with the Tigers. Saturday will be the first time the public will get to see the 2014 Bayou Bengals.
The spotlight will centered on quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. They are battling to be the replacement for Zach Mettenberger, who threw for over 3,000 yards last season.
But LSU has position battles all over the field. Players who are currently backups will have their last chance to impress before heading into summer. LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander dominated the spring game last year while playing with the second unit. Alexander started the season opener against TCU.
Here are five players to keep an eye on for Saturday's spring game.
The LSU receivers have not had the smoothest spring.
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had shown frustration. The unit has struggled with dropped passes and injuries. But one receiver has taken a leap forward.
Senior Quantavius Leslie caught four passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns in LSU's last live scrimmage. Leslie has elite speed and is starting to develop a better understanding of the offense.
Leading receiver returnee Travin Dural will start. John Diarse begins spring as the No. 2 receiver, but has had injury issues. Leslie has a chance to separate himself from the pack before heading into the offseason.
Next season, incoming freshmen Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn will be in the receivers mix. Leslie must take advantage of the opportunity now to make plays with the extra snaps given to him.
LSU starting middle linebacker D.J. Welter is feeling the pressure.
Sophomore linebacker Kendall Beckwith's move to the inside has been one of the most intriguing storylines this spring. Beckwith has all the athletic tools to push Welter for the starting role.
Welter is a second-year starter who played his best football at the end of the season. He is the quarterback of the defense who knows all of the calls in John Chavis' diverse defensive scheme.
Due to LSU's thin running back corps, there is no reason for Welter to not dominate the spring game.
Sophomore tight end DeSean Smith has the chance make a name for himself in the LSU spring game.
Sonny Shipp of Geaux247.com said Smith has looked fluid as a pass-catcher in practice. He was expected to contribute more in 2013 than his one catch for 14 yards. Yet with another year of Cam Cameron's system under his belt, there is no telling what he can do in 2014.
Look out for Smith and other LSU tight ends including Travis Dickson, Logan Stokes and Dillon Gordon to get some passes thrown their way on Saturday.
Maquedius Bain has the talent to be the next great LSU defensive tackle.
Bain has shown progress this offseason after redshirting in 2013. Sonny Shipp of Geaux247 said he has stood out amongst the defensive tackles. The freshman has shown explosiveness in LSU's famed "Big Cat Drill."
This spring, he has run with the second group alongside Greg Gilmore. They both could surpass first team duo Christian LaCouture or Quentin Thomas.
Bain will, more than likely, face the first-team offensive line on Saturday. Expect that group, under first year offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, to play with the some intensity.
If Bain shows flashes of excellence on Saturday, expect the buzz surrounding him to grow over the summer.
Only the best of the best can play safety at LSU.
Sophomore safety Rickey Jefferson would start at most schools. But Jefferson, who snatched an interception in LSU's last scrimmage, is currently running with the second group behind Ronald Martin and Jalen Mills. He appeared in seven games in 2013, including one start against Arkansas.
Safety will be one of the most crowded positions next season. Corey Thompson is an athletic freak that is currently sitting out of spring practice as he recovers from knee surgery. The Tigers will also welcome in 5-star recruit Jamal Adams over the summer.
Jefferson could get lost in the shuffle. But a strong showing in the spring game will help his chances to stay in the rotation.
*Follow @CarterthePower on Twitter for updates from Tiger Stadium on Saturday.