LSU Football Recruiting: 5 Former Blue-Chippers Who Will Finally Shine in 2014
But despite the buzz surrounding the new blood, returning Tigers will be relied upon to carry the team.
LSU brings in some of the best prep prospects in the country every season. Miles will be looking for a few of his blue-chip recruits from past classes to to take their game to the next level.
Here are few names to keep an eye out for next season.
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron rejuvenated the aerial attack in his first season, as the Tigers amassed over 3,200 passing yards.
But unfortunately for Cameron, over 70 percent of those receiving yards are now gone. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., both of whom had over 1,000 yards, will be playing on Sundays next season.
Redshirt freshman John Diarse will be asked to help fill the void. Diarse, a former 4-star receiver out of Neville, Louisiana, said Cameron was expecting him to be an integral part of the 2013 offense before his season-ending injury, per Glenn Guilbeau of The Shreveport Times.
LSU's leading returning receiver Travin Dural only caught seven passes last season. He will need to help carry the load next season. Diarse is not a speed demon, but a physical possession receiver much like Landry. Expect him to see the field in the season opener against Wisconsin.
LSU's offensive line returns four starters from last year's team. The only position left vacant is at right guard.
The battle for the opening was heated during the spring between seniors Evan Washington and Hoko Fanaika. Despite Fanaika starting the spring game with the other first-team linemen, first-year offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said he is in no rush to name a starter.
Washington, a former 4-star recruit from DeSoto, Texas, has the talent to win the job and be a difference-maker next season. Even if he does not start, Grimes will rely on Washington to step in if there is an injury. He replaced right guard Trai Turner when he went down with an injury against Auburn.
LSU needs a receiving presence at tight end in the worst way. Sophomore DeSean Smith could be the answer.
LSU's tight ends have only caught 28 passes for no touchdowns over the past two seasons. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger often ignored the tight end in critical situations.
The Tigers will look to Smith to improve production at the position. The former 4-star prospect from Lake Charles, Louisiana, caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in the LSU spring game. He should, at minimum, catch 15 passes next season after only snatching one as a freshman.
LSU needs a defensive end to be the lethal pass-rushing threat teams must respect. Defensive coordinator John Chavis hopes Danielle Hunter can be that guy.
Hunter raked in two sacks and two quarterback hurries in the spring game. He is slender at 6'6", 241 pounds, but that should not stop him from getting around offensive tackles who do not possess his speed and quickness.
The pass rush from LSU's defensive line last season was below average. Hunter raked in a disappointing three sacks. The former 4-star prospect from Katy, Texas, should lead the charge in causing havoc in the opponent's backfield in 2014.
Kwon Alexander has many talents. Alexander showed them off at times last season, but the Tigers are expecting him to do it more consistently.
LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis also serves as the linebacker coach. Chavis requires his linebackers to play in open space, so he loves athletic linebackers who can defend the run and pass equally well. Alexander can certainly do that.
Alexander was LSU's highest-rated recruit in the 2012 class. He should live up to that hype with an All-SEC-caliber season. His switch from strong-side to weak-side linebacker this offseason should allow him more freedom to make plays.
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