LSU Football: Incoming Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season
Miles will not be bashful showing off his new toys right away. He said to expect at least 15 true freshmen to play this season, per Ross Dellenger of The Advocate. For comparison's sake, the Tigers played 13 in 2013.
With the mass exodus of talent leaving the program, Miles will have to call on some freshmen to start. Here are the five players with the best chance to eventually crack the lineup this season.
Brandon Harris, QB
LSU quarterback Brandon Harris could either play the entire season or ride the pine for most of 2014.
Expect the former instead of the later.
Harris is in a quarterback standoff with sophomore Anthony Jennings to replace the departed Zach Mettenberger. LSU head coach Les Miles said he is not opposed to playing both quarterbacks, per Scott Rabalais of The Advocate.
Harris will be the starter because he is the better player.
Leonard Fournette, RB
Despite never playing a down of college football, there is no LSU player under more pressure than Leonard Fournette.
Fournette is the highest-rated recruit Miles has ever had. He should have an instant impact on the LSU offense.
Senior Terrence Magee will likely start the season opener against Wisconsin, but Fournette has the talent to eventually take over the starting role.
Malachi Dupre, WR
Malachi Dupre will play against Wisconsin. The only question remaining is if he will start.
Dupre was the No. 2-rated receiver prospect in the country, and for good reason. The rangy receiver has the tools to make plays right away. He has worked with quarterback and fellow incoming freshman Harris this offseason at George Whitfield's "Shark Week" in San Diego, according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports.
The work must have paid off, as the 5-star receiver has already impressed the Tigers' upperclassmen. LSU senior linebacker D.J. Welter has said, per Dellenger of The Advocate, that Dupre and Fournette have already shown why they were 5-star recruits in their limited practice time thus far.
LSU might bring Dupre along slowly, but expect him to eventually crack the starting lineup alongside Travin Dural.
Jamal Adams, Safety
LSU 5-star safety Jamal Adams is a freak.
LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has never been afraid to play freshmen safeties. Eric Reid eventually became a starter in 2010 and Rickey Jefferson notched a start against Arkansas last season.
The Tigers are deep at safety, but there is some uncertainty. Projected starter Jalen Mills was arrested this offseason for second-degree battery and has been suspended indefinitely, according to ESPN.com. There is no telling if Mills will be back for the 2014 season.
Returnees Ronald Martin, Corey Thompson and Jefferson are the options Chavis will chose from for the two safety spots. Adams is as naturally gifted as any of the current LSU safeties, so do not be shocked if he earns a start. He will, at the very least, be on the field on special teams.
Ed Paris, DB
Cornerback Ed Paris is a long shot to earn a start over sophomores Tre'Davious White or Rashard Robinson. But Paris could find a way to sneak into the lineup for Chavis' 3-2-6 "Mustang" package.
Chavis loves playing six defensive backs on the field at once, which is a feature of the Mustang defense. Dwayne Thomas will likely be the fifth defensive back alongside the starting corners and safeties, but the sixth player can be a number of LSU defensive backs. Paris, as an early enrollee, should already be accustomed to Chavis' vast playbook.
The Tigers could start games in the Mustang alignment if they play a pass-oriented team. Paris, or even the previously mentioned Jamal Adams, has the tools necessary to play the role right away.
If Paris does not see the field on defense, look for him to start on numerous special team units.
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