LSU Football: 5 Players Sure to Surprise During Fall Camp
Playing time will be on the line once LSU fall camp begins in early August. Head coach Les Miles will have a tough time configuring the depth chart, especially with his talented incoming freshman class of 2014.
Successful teams annually have non-projected preseason starters step up throughout the season. Last year, running back Terrence Magee was that player for LSU. Viewed as a fourth-string back, Magee finished as the team's second leading rusher, proving his worth in fall practice and earning the trust of Miles and the coaching staff.
Injuries happen throughout the college football season, so Miles will need depth beyond his starting lineup. Backups will have their chance in fall camp to show why they deserve playing time.
Here are five players that will raise eyebrows over the next few weeks.
WR Malachi Dupre
Losing both Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to the NFL could be the biggest blow of the offseason. There is no telling how LSU's depth chart will shape up at wide receiver.
Travin Dural looks to be the most reliable option for now, but there is uncertainty after him, with fellow returnees John Diarse, Quantavius Leslie and Avery Peterson.
As a result, Les Miles will rely on 5-star incoming freshman Malachi Dupre to be a factor right away.
Dupre, at 6'3", uses his size to make spectacular catches in the air. He has worked with fellow freshman and quarterback Brandon Harris extensively this offseason. Both took part in George Whitfield's "Shark Week" in San Diego, per Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com.
Dupre is LSU's most talented receiver on the roster despite being a true freshman. He will have a chance to prove it against LSU's talented corners this fall. Expect him to have some success against them.
DE Tashawn Bower
LSU's starting defensive end spots are locked up by Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco, but the fight for who comes off the bench first will be fierce.
Tashawn Bower, Lewis Neal, Frank Herron and M.J. Patterson are talented returnees that will get some playing time. Of the group, expect Bower to see the field first.
Defensive line coach Brick Haley will need Bower to be a productive contributor after only playing sparingly as a freshman. The sophomore must show off his pass-rushing potential in fall practice to give Haley some comfort in inserting him on passing downs.
DTs Greg Gilmore & Maquedius Bain
The uncertainty and inexperience at defensive tackle for LSU is alarming.
Last year's backups, Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas, are now the starters. They were below average when filling in for starters Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson.
LSU will rotate more frequently next season at a position that takes a toll on the body. As a result, redshirt freshmen Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore could actually prove to be better than LaCouture and Thomas.
Bain and Gilmore showed great resistance in the running game against the first-team offensive line in the spring game. The speed of the game will kick up a notch in fall practice, but they should be able to adjust quickly.
LB Deion 'Debo' Jones
LSU linebacker Deion "Debo" Jones has big-play potential every time he steps on the field. Jones showed it in the spring game, returning an interception thrown by Anthony Jennings for a touchdown.
Jones has sideline-to-sideline speed, making it difficult for running backs to turn the corner for big gains. He will be the first reserve linebacker to rotate into the game, as he can play either the strong or weak side.
Jones' speed alone will stand out in fall practice. The junior has played primarily on special teams so far in his career, but expect his role to expand in 2014.