LSU Football: Projecting Post-Spring 2-Deep Depth Chart

Carter BryantContributor IApril 30, 2014

LSU Football: Projecting Post-Spring 2-Deep Depth Chart

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    LSU head coach Les Miles shares a moment with quarterback Anthony Jennings before his first career start against Iowa in the Outback Bowl.
    LSU head coach Les Miles shares a moment with quarterback Anthony Jennings before his first career start against Iowa in the Outback Bowl.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    LSU's depth will be put to the test next season. 

    The Tigers have lost 17 players with eligibility remaining to the NFL draft over the past two seasons. It has become a yearly chore for Les Miles to put together a roster.

    Yet he will not receive pity from other coaches and media across the country. He has a plethora of potential playmakers, most of whom hail from his own backyard in Louisiana.

    LSU does not release an official depth chart after spring ball, but here is a preview of what it could look like for the season opener against Wisconsin.  

Quarterback

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    Quarterback 

    1. Brandon Harris 
    2. Anthony Jennings 

     

    Freshman Brandon Harris has the slight edge over Anthony Jennings based solely on the freshman's performance in the spring game. But the quarterback battle is far from over, and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Les Miles are in no rush to name a starter.  

    Harris combined for four touchdowns and showed amazing accuracy and pocket awareness for a quarterback in his LSU infancy. Jennings, who entered spring as the starter, threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

Running Back

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    Running Back 

    1. Terrence Magee
    2. Kenny Hilliard
    3. Leonard Fournette 

     

    LSU lost a formidable force at running back in Jeremy Hill. But two experienced backups, Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, will look to take over the load next season.

    Leonard Fournette is LSU's most highly touted recruit in the Les Miles era. He will certainly see carries in the season opener against Wisconsin. Most believe he will take over the starter's role at some point next season.   

Wide Receiver

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

    Wide Receiver (If LSU starts in 3-WR set)

    1. Travin Dural, Quantavius Leslie, John Diarse
    2. Malachi Dupre, Rob Bolden, Avery Peterson

     

    Travin Dural showed drastic improvement in the spring game, catching five passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Dural, the most experienced returnee at receiver, will enter fall as the No. 1 option. 

    John Diarse began spring as the No. 2 receiver, but his nagging injuries made things tough on the redshirt freshman. Senior Quantavius Leslie took full advantage of the opportunity. 

    Expect 5-star incoming freshman Malachi Dupre to eventually crack the starting lineup, possibly for the season opener against Wisconsin. Redshirt freshman Avery Peterson and senior Rob Bolden should be in the mix as well.

    The wild card is 4-star freshman Trey Quinn, who could arguably be the fastest receiver on the roster. He will get an opportunity to earn playing time this fall. 

Fullback

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    LSU fullback Melvin Jones (left)
    LSU fullback Melvin Jones (left)Credit: Geaux247

    Fullback 

    1. Connor Neighbors
    2. Melvin Jones

     

    LSU returns experienced Connor Neighbors at fullback, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility this offseason, according to Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune. Neighbors can do everything asked of a fullback. He is one of the better blockers at any position in the SEC. 

    Melvin Jones moved from linebacker to fullback last season, playing in nine games. He shows some promise as a short-yardage ball-carrier next season. 

Tight End

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    LSU tight end Dillon Gordon
    LSU tight end Dillon GordonCredit: Geaux247

    Tight End (2-TE formation)

    1. Dillon Gordon, DeSean Smith
    2. Logan Stokes, Travis Dickson 

     

    LSU will look for sophomore DeSean Smith to be the receiving threat at the tight end that the Tigers desperately need. If LSU runs two-tight end formations, expect Smith to be paired with Dillon Gordon, the Tigers' best blocking tight end. 

    If LSU wants to run the ball exclusively, Smith will be replaced by Stokes due to his fantastic blocking skills. Senior Travis Dickson and incoming freshman Jacory Washington will also be in the mix for playing time. 

Offensive Line

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    LSU left tackle La'el Collins (left), head coach Les Miles (center) and left guard Vadal Alexander (right) celebrate a victory.
    LSU left tackle La'el Collins (left), head coach Les Miles (center) and left guard Vadal Alexander (right) celebrate a victory.Associated Press

    Left Tackle 

    1. La'el Collins
    2. Josh Boutte

    Left Guard

    1. Vadal Alexander
    2. Jonah Austin

    Center

    1. Elliott Porter
    2. Ethan Pocic 

    Right Guard

    1. Hoko Fanaika
    2. Evan Washington

    Right Tackle

    1. Jerald Hawkins
    2. Andy Dodd

     

    LSU's offensive line returns four of its five starters next season. The lone position up for grabs is right guard, which has featured a fierce battle between seniors Hoko Fanaika and Evan Washington. Fanaika started the spring game, but first-year offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said that is no true indication of who is in the lead between the two. 

    Injuries have plagued the offensive line for the past three years, with at least one preseason projected starter going down before the midway point of the season. If the same happens in 2014, Grimes will have to shuffle some players around. 

Defensive End

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    Defensive End

    1. Danielle Hunter, Jermauria Rasco
    2. Tashawn Bower, Lewis Neal

     

    LSU has a plethora of defensive ends to chose from, but expect Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco to be the starters. Hunter tallied two sacks in the LSU spring game. Rasco sat out the entire spring to recover from shoulder surgery, but his experience will earn him a starting role. 

    Defensive line coach Brick Haley loves to rotate his ends, so depth will be key. Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal are probably the top backups after playing sparingly as freshmen. Freshmen Frank Herron, M.J. Patterson and Deondre Clark will all be in the mix. 

    The LSU defensive ends should improve from its paltry 9.5 sacks in 2013. If not, the secondary will have a heavy load to carry.  

Defensive Tackle

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    LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture
    LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCoutureCredit: Geaux247

    Defensive Tackle

    1. Christian LaCouture, Quentin Thomas 
    2. Greg Gilmore, Maquedius Bain

     

    Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas served as backups to Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson last season. Now they will get their chance to be starters next season. The duo combined for only 20 tackles, albeit in limited playing time. 

    But the biggest improvement at defensive tackle will be depth. There will be little, if any, drop-off from LaCouture and Thomas to Greg Gilmore and Maquedius Bain. The redshirt freshmen showed amazing strength while defending the run against the first unit in the spring game. 

    Incoming freshmen Travonte Valentine, Davon Godchaux and Trey Lealaimatafao could all play right away, according to Les Miles, via Will Weathers of TigerBait.com.  

Linebacker

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    LSU linebacker Lamar Louis
    LSU linebacker Lamar LouisUSA TODAY Sports

    Sam (Strong-Side) Linebacker

    1. Lamar Louis
    2. Ronnie Feist

    Mike (Middle) Linebacker

    1. D.J. Welter
    2. Kendell Beckwith

    Will (Weak-Side) Linebacker

    1. Kwon Alexander
    2. Debo Jones

     

    LSU should see an improvement at linebacker from last season. The experienced group should be amongst the best in the SEC. 

    Starters D.J. Welter and Kwon Alexander return. Alexander makes the move from the "Sam" to the "Will," which should give him more freedom to make plays. Lamar Louis raked in 25 tackles last season despite limited playing time. 

    Do not be surprised if backups Ronnie Feist, Kendell Beckwith or Debo Jones register starts next season. They all have talent but overall are inexperienced. Sophomore Duke Riley and incoming freshman Clifton Garrett have a shot to crack the rotation at some point in 2014. 

Cornerback

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    LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White
    LSU cornerback Tre'Davious WhiteCredit: Geaux247

    Cornerback

    1. Tre'Davious White, Rashard Robinson
    2. Ed Paris, Jalen Collins

    Nickel 

    1. Dwayne Thomas
    2. Jalen Mills 

     

    LSU's defensive backs could be in for a massive year in 2014. 

    Starting corners Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson might only be sophomores, but they played like seasoned veterans to close out last season. Junior Jalen Collins and early enrollee Ed Paris will be serviceable backups. 

    Defensive coordinator John Chavis will rotate players through his nickel and dime packages, which feature five and six defensive backs, respectively. Dwayne Thomas proved to be a playmaker as a blitzer last season. Jalen Mills, who made the move to safety, could see playing time there as well. Both Thomas and Mills had three sacks last season, which tied for second-most on the team.

Safety

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    LSU safety Jalen Mills
    LSU safety Jalen MillsCredit: Geaux247

    Safety

    1. Jalen Mills, Ronald Martin
    2. Rickey Jefferson, Corey Thompson

     

    LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond has a lot of safeties to choose from to be the starters. The challenge for him will be to find the players he can trust. 

    Jalen Mills and Ronald Martin finished spring as the starters, but talented junior Corey Thompson had to recover from knee surgery at the end of 2013. Sophomore Rickey Jefferson would be an unquestioned starter at most schools across the country. 

    Fans should keep an eye out for incoming freshmen Jamal Adams, John Battle and Devin Voorhies. Adams, a 5-star prospect, is most likely to crack the lineup.  

Specialists

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    LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye (left) and long snapper Reid Ferguson (right)
    LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye (left) and long snapper Reid Ferguson (right)Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Kicker

    1. Colby Delahoussaye 
    2. Trent Domingue

    Punter

    1. Jamie Keehn
    2. Trent Domingue

    Long Snapper

    1. Reid Ferguson
    2. Connor LeBlanc

    Holder

    1. Chris LaBorde

     

    LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye only missed one field goal last season. Trent Domingue will be his backup, but incoming freshman Cameron Gamble has the talent to push for the backup role.

    Domingue could have a better shot of winning the punting job from Jamie Keehn, who was inconsistent last season. They are the only two punters on LSU's roster. 

    It is a little too early to determine who will be returning kicks and punts for LSU next season. Tre'Davious White, Ed Paris, Travin Dural and Trey Quinn are a few names that will be in the running for the job. 

     

    *Stats and rankings provided by 247SportsLSU Sports Information and cfbstats.com. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

    *Follow me on Twitter @CarterthePower.