Grading LSU's Post-Spring Depth Chart

Carter BryantContributor IApril 14, 2014

Grading LSU's Post-Spring Depth Chart

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    LSU quarterbacks Anthony Jennings (left) and Brandon Harris (right)
    LSU quarterbacks Anthony Jennings (left) and Brandon Harris (right)USA TODAY Sports

    LSU spring practice is over. Now Les Miles and his staff must evaluate each position before the Tigers take the field again later this summer. 

    The LSU coaches are in no rush to officially name starters. But they do, at the very least, have an idea of who is in the running to make the two-deep roster.  

    The Tigers are annually one of the deepest teams in college football. But with the mass exodus of players who have left early for the draft over the past two seasons, LSU's depth will be put to the test in 2014.

    Here is an idea of how the Tigers will look for the season opener against Wisconsin.  

     

    *Stats and rankings via 247Sports, LSU sports information and cfbstats.com. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

Quarterback

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    Starter: Anthony Jennings 

     

    Backups: Brandon Harris

     

    Analysis: The talk of LSU's offseason will be the quarterback battle in Baton Rouge. Sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris are so close, Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron are not in any rush to name a starter.

    Harris certainly looked the better of the two in the spring game. But Jennings has a year of experience under his belt, albeit only one start.  

    Both have the skill set to be a productive quarterback. No matter who starts, Miles and Cameron will likely bring the quarterback along slowly next season. Expect a lot of running plays behind an experienced offensive line. 

     

    Grade: C

Running Back

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    Starters: Terrence Magee (running back), Connor Neighbors (fullback)

     

    Backups: Kenny Hilliard, Leonard Fournette, Darrel Williams, Melvin Jones (fullback) 

     

    Analysis: Terrence Magee is the starter at running back, but possibly not for long. 

    Magee finished as LSU's second leading rusher behind All-SEC performer Jeremy Hill. The senior battled injuries over the past month but was able to suit up for the spring game. 

    Kenny Hilliard also returns for his senior season. He rushed for 310 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, yet he registered more than 10 carries in a game only twice. 

    LSU is hoping 5-star workhorse Leonard Fournette becomes the star everybody expects him to be. Fournette will immediately get carries as a freshman. 

    Connor Neighbors was productive as a blocker last season. The senior will get more touches on the ground and through the air next season. Melvin Jones got plenty of snaps this spring due to the lack of the depth in the backfield. Jones will certainly see the field. 

    There is some uncertainty about how the carries will be distributed next season. Nevertheless, LSU will miss Jeremy Hill. The Tigers will need Magee, Hilliard and Fournette to make some game-breaking plays if the Tigers want their offense to remain explosive. 

     

    Grade: B-

Wide Receiver

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    LSU wide receivers Quantavius Leslie (left) and John Diarse (right)
    LSU wide receivers Quantavius Leslie (left) and John Diarse (right)Photo Credit: Geaux247

    Starters: Travin Dural, Quantavius Leslie 

     

    Backups: John Diarse, Avery Peterson, Rob Bolden, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn 

     

    Analysis: Travin Dural was one of the biggest surprises at the LSU spring game. Dural caught five passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. 

    Outside of Dural, John Diarse and Rob Bolden were the only other receivers to register a reception. Quantavius Leslie improved this spring, catching four passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns in LSU's last private scrimmage.

    The LSU receivers finished spring strong after a rough start. Nevertheless, the Tigers will need more help.

    Highly touted freshmen Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn are expected to contribute next season as freshmen. Dupre, a 5-star talent from New Orleans, could possibly start the season opener against Wisconsin. 

    LSU's receiving depth took a hit when the Tigers lost Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Kadron Boone in the offseason. There is some talent there, but it might take some time to develop with a new starting quarterback. 

     

    Grade: C+

Tight End

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    LSU tight end Dillon Gordon
    LSU tight end Dillon GordonPhoto Credit: Geaux247

    Starter: DeSean Smith 

     

    Backups: Dillon Gordon, Logan Stokes, Travis Dickson, Jacory Washington

     

    Analysis: LSU needs to see an increase in production at tight end. Over the past two seasons, the Tigers' tight ends combined for 28 catches and no touchdowns. 

    DeSean Smith showed flashes of excellence in the spring game with 45 receiving yards and a touchdown. Travis Dickson and Stokes looked better as receivers in spring practice according to Sonny Shipp of Geaux247

    Freshman Jacory Washington could make an instant splash next season. His playmaking ability will fit in with Cam Cameron's offense. But he will have to beat out a deep unit. 

    Dillon Gordon and Stokes are experienced blockers in the running game. But if LSU can find a legitimate receiving threat at tight end, the offense could become even more well-rounded in 2014. 

     

    Grade: B+

     

     

     

     

     

Offensive Line

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    LSu guard Evan Washington
    LSu guard Evan WashingtonPhoto Credit: Geaux247

    Starters: Left tackle La'el Collins, left guard Vadal Alexander, center Elliott Porter, right guard Hoko Fanaika, right tackle Jerald Hawkins

     

    Backups: Evan Washington, Ethan Pocic, Jonah Austin, Josh Boutte  

     

    Analysis: The LSU offensive line must carry the offense early next season. The Tigers return four of five starters and should be a dominant unit. 

    The only opening is at right guard. The spot has been fiercely contested between Hoko Fanaika and Evan Washington. Fanaika played with the white team, which was comprised of the first-unit players. Yet first-year offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said after the game the two have been back and forth all offseason. 

    The LSU offensive line was inconsistent in 2013, especially on the road. There will be no room for excuses going forward. The unit has the talent to be remarkable, led by left tackle La'el Collins. 

     

    Grade: A-

Defensive Line

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    LSU defensive end Lewis Neal
    LSU defensive end Lewis NealPhoto Credit: Geaux247

    Starters: Danielle Hunter, Christian LaCouture, Quentin Thomas, Jermauria Rasco 

     

    Backups: Tashawn Bower, Frank Herron, Lewis Neal, M.J. Patterson, Maquedius Bain, Greg Gilmore 

     

    Analysis: LSU's defensive line was good, but not great last season. There is hope the unit can regain its elite status next season. 

    Danielle Hunter was the best defensive end in spring practice, highlighted by two sacks in the spring game. Hunter should double his sack total from last season. Jermauria Rasco did not practice due to injury, but expect him to start at the other end. 

    LSU has four talented defensive ends to back them up in Tashawn Bower, Frank Herron, M.J. Patterson and Lewis Neal, all of which are freshmen and sophomores. 

    The defensive tackles looked solid in the spring game. Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas have experience, but the backup redshirt freshmen duo of Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore will play plenty of snaps next season as well. 

    LSU also has a talented batch of freshmen defensive linemen coming in the 2014 recruiting class. Chances are most of them will redshirt, but look out for Travonte Valentine and Davon Godchaux to challenge for playing time. 

    LSU has a bunch of flashy names and highly touted recruits on the defensive line. But the jury is still out if any of them will step up and be playmakers next season. The talent is there to be great.  

     

    Grade: B+

Linebackers

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    LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith
    LSU linebacker Kendell BeckwithUSA TODAY Sports

    Starters: Kwon Alexander, D.J. Welter, Lamar Louis

     

    Backups: Deion Jones, Kendell Beckwith, Ronnie Feist, Duke Riley, Clifton Garrett

     

    Analysis: The LSU linebackers were the strongest unit in the spring game. 

    Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones both returned interceptions for touchdowns. The linebackers were stout against the running game, with Ronnie Feist raking in a game-high 14 tackles. 

    The starting group of Alexander, D.J. Welter and Lamar Louis is likely to stay the same for the season opener against Wisconsin. But expect Jones, Feist and Kendell Beckwith to be in the mix. Freshman 5-star Clifton Garrett will play special teams yet could possibly crack the lineup.

    Defensive coordinator John Chavis also serves as the linebacker coach. Chavis has done a great job developing the corps into a deeper, more versatile unit. Expect them to take a huge step forward next season.

     

    Grade: B 

Defensive Backs

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    LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson
    LSU cornerback Rashard RobinsonUSA TODAY Sports

    Starters: Tre'Davious White, Ronald Martin, Jalen Mills, Rashard Robinson

     

    Backups: Ed Paris, Jalen Collins, Dwayne Thomas, Corey Thompson, Rickey Jefferson, Jamal Adams

     

    Analysis: LSU's "DBU" could be back to form next season. 

    The Tigers over the past two seasons have seen a drop in performance from their 2011 dominance. With a seasoned unit and an elite SEC quarterback exodus from last season, the secondary could be the best in the country yet again.

    Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson look as if they have the cornerback positions locked up. LSU lost experienced safety Craig Loston in the offseason, but there are more than serviceable replacements to fill his role. Ronald Martin and Jalen Mills are currently the starters at safety, but that can easily change before the season opener.  

    Defensive coordinator John Chavis will use all of these players at some point in the season. Chavis loves to run defensive packages that call for five or six defensive backs on the field. Look for Dwayne Thomas to be a playmaker next season. 

    There are no excuses for this unit not to take over games. With the depth LSU has at the position, expect them to be spectacular in 2014. 

     

    Grade: A

Special Teams

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    LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye
    LSU kicker Colby DelahoussayeUSA TODAY Sports

    Starters: Colby Delahoussaye (kicker), Jamie Keehn (punter), Reid Ferguson (snapper), Tre'Davious White (returner)

     

    Backups: Trent Domingue (kicker/punter), Ed Paris, Travin Dural, Trey Quinn

     

    Analysis: LSU returns kicker Colby Delahoussaye, punter Jamie Keehn and snapper Reid Ferguson from last year. Keehn was inconsistent last season, so do not be surprised if Trent Domingue gets a chance to punt next season. 

    Returner remains a question mark with the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. Tre'Davious White was the first to return a punt at the spring game. Expect White to have a chance to return kicks and punts along with Ed Paris, Travin Dural and incoming freshman Trey Quinn.

     

    Grade: B+