LSU Football: 6 Tigers Primed for Breakout Seasons
LSU head coach Les Miles knows coaches are only as good as their players.
Miles deserves plenty of credit for LSU's success in his tenure. He has led the Tigers to 95 wins in nine seasons despite players leaving early. But there is no question his success is powered by his players, more often than not, being superior than their opponents.
Luckily enough for Miles, talent-rich states such as Louisiana makes roster transformation easier. His 2014 recruiting class, arguably his best ever, has taken over the offseason buzz in Baton Rouge.
Overall, Miles has a young, yet talented, roster. If LSU's youth play like veterans, they will be successful.
Here are six players, which includes two juniors, three sophomores and one freshman, that will breakout in 2014.
CBs Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson
LSU has arguably the best duo at cornerback in the SEC. Sophomores Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson has the talent to take over games in the secondary.
White and Robinson both showed flashes of brilliance as freshmen last season. White, LSU's highest profile recruit from the 2013 class, was expected to make a splash. He started 11 games last season and tallied two interceptions.
Robinson was a pleasant surprise last season. In his first start against Texas A&M, he stalemated All-American receiver Mike Evans and snatched an interception.
Expect the opposite of a sophomore slump in 2014 for White and Robinson. They will thrive, leading LSU's secondary to its best season since 2011.
LB Kwon Alexander
Kwon Alexander is LSU's most versatile linebacker. Alexander can defend the run and pass equally well. He is also capable of blitzing at any moment.
Alexander's freshman season was cut short due to a midseason injury. His sophomore campaign in 2013 was good, but not great. Yet now as a junior, Alexander, who moved from strong side to weak side this offseason, should challenge for a spot on the All-SEC team.
Alexander will challenge middle linebacker D.J. Welter for LSU's leading tackler and could lead the Tigers in forced turnovers.
LG Vadal Alexander
The buzz surrounding left tackle La'el Collins is immense. Collins was named a preseason first-team All-SEC performer and is a popular pick in early mock NFL drafts to go in the first round.
If Collins dominates next season, the biggest beneficiary could be left guard Vadal Alexander. This will be the second straight season Collins and Alexander will be together on the left side.
At 6'6", 342 pounds, Alexander has amazing size and power. He has the chance to have a special season if he improves in pass protection. The junior is also capable of playing tackle, which he did admirably in 2012 as a freshman.
WR Travin Dural
LSU wide receiver Travin Dural will see a dramatic increase in his statistics, mainly because Dural has no other choice.
The Tigers lost two of their best receivers ever this offseason in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. They accounted for more than 70 percent of LSU's passing yards last season.
Dural is LSU's highest leading wide receiver returnee with only seven catches to his name. But he showed vast improvement in his ability to get open in the spring game, raking in five catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Dural does not need to be the next Beckham Jr. or Landry. He will have help from John Diarse and Malachi Dupre. But the sophomore, who will enter 2014 as the No. 1 option, must be effective to help aid young quarterbacks Brandon Harris or Anthony Jennings.
RB Leonard Fournette
Despite never having played a college down, Leonard Fournette is under more pressure than any other LSU player. Fournette is Les Miles' highest profile recruit ever and is expected to take the SEC by storm as a true freshman.
Fournette will be aided by an offensive line that returns four starters. He is better than seniors Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, but Miles said at SEC Media Days it is important to not tire out his prized thoroughbred freshman.
"We will need those guys (the running backs) to have fresh legs," said Miles. "I think you can always kind of count on that from us."
The SEC is loaded with talent at running back this season. Fournette has the potential to be amongst the best in the conference. Expect him to live up to that hype and eclipse 1,000 yards rushing.