LSU Football: Top Performers from LSU Spring Game
The LSU spring game opened the eyes of Tigers fans everywhere. New players emerged as potential stars for next season.
The white team, which consisted mostly of the first team players, defeated the purple 42-14. But the main focus should not be the result, but rather on the performance of the players.
Saturday marks the last time the Tigers will strap up the pads until late summer. The Tigers will finish out class and continue workouts in the offseason. When they take the field again, Les Miles will have his entire highly touted 2014 recruiting class at his disposal.
Scrimmages months away from the season opener can only show so much. But it does display the potential of the players. Here are five playmakers who have made a name for themselves on Saturday.
*Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Stats provided by LSU Sports Information.
Brandon Harris outperformed his quarterback counterpart Anthony Jennings.
Harris was 11-of-28 for 195 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Harris was sensational. His stats do not tell the full story. He showed amazing pocket presence and made excellent decisions with the football, which is far from normal for a freshman.
Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron stressed after the game that the quarterback battle is far from over. But Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee believes it is now Harris' job to lose.
Travin Dural was the best wide receiver on the field Saturday by a sizable margin.
Dural caught five passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, one from both Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. No other LSU wide receiver had more than one reception.
Dural never had a multi-reception game last season. He looked like a more reliable option on Saturday with sharp routes and tough catches in traffic.
"It's been hard work this offseason. We are all getting better everyday," said Dural after the scrimmage.
LSU needs receivers to step up after the departure of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. The Tigers need the experienced Dural to lead the way on the outside.
DeSean Smith gives LSU fans hope at the tight end position.
Smith caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. His 6'4'' frame mixed with his deceptive speed made him a difficult guard for the defense.
Smith said he feels he is a major factor in the offense next season.
"I think I can be a big time threat," said Smith. "I can make those big time plays to help our team win."
The Tigers only had 12 total receptions from tight ends last season, with Smith having only one of them. The sophomore should eclipse that total by himself in 2014.
LSU's linebackers were the strongest overall unit in the spring game.
Kwon Alexander and Debo Jones made everyone's highlight reel with interceptions returned for touchdowns. But Alexander and Jones were contributors last season. The surprising star was Ronnie Feist.
Feist led all defensive players with 14 tackles. He showed fearlessness in the running game, attacking ball carriers downhill.
Feist did not see the field in 2013 after appearing in five games as a freshman the year before. He could add some much-needed depth to the linebacker corps next season and should be a headhunter on special teams.
Danielle Hunter could not be blocked at the LSU spring game.
Hunter tallied two sacks and two hurries. He was in the backfield for most of the game but, unfortunately for him, was unable to unleash a vicious hit on the quarterbacks in an effort to protect them.
Hunter could be the best overall athlete on the team. His speed countered the mobility of quarterbacks Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. He showed great pad level and power at the point of attack.
Three sacks was all Hunter could muster in 2013. After this spring game performance, there is no reason he should, at the very least, double that number this season.