LSU Football: 5 Under-the-Radar Players

Evan TigheContributor ISeptember 19, 2011

LSU Football: 5 Under-the-Radar Players

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    Following a Thursday night win over Mississippi State, LSU is now 3-0 and ranked No. 2 in the AP poll. The Tigers have found early success with a traditional formula that combines a stout, stifling defense and a ball-control offense with a heavy emphasis on wearing down opposing teams with a punishing running game.

    It comes as no surprise that several standout players have been the key to making this formula work.

    As anticipated, running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford have headlined the ground game, while star defensive players Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu, Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery have anchored the defense.

    However, it is not just the big names which have been important for the Tigers this season.

    Several other players have been quietly contributing to a thus far undefeated campaign.  

Tharold Simon

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    In a star-studded secondary, Simon gets overlooked at times in favor of Mathieu, Claiborne and hard-hitting Eric Reid. He ranks second on the team in tackles and has snagged one of the team's four interceptions.

    His coverage skills have been vital to the complete blanketing of receivers, and his open-field tackling has kept opposing running games in check. 

Odell Beckham

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    Entering this season, Beckham figured to play in the shadow of veterans Reuben Randle and Russell Shepard as well as highly-touted freshman Jarvis Landry.

    However, it is Beckham who leads the team in receptions so far with 15. With Shepard's NCAA-related suspension, Beckham has stepped up and provided a viable option for LSU's quick screen passes. He may not be the first option for the big play like Randle and tight end Deangelo Peterson, but he has been pivotal in keeping the Tigers moving downfield.  

Jarrett Lee

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    As far as name recognition goes, Lee is about as far as you can get from "under the radar," but the fact is that his play has been unquestionably important despite not being overly impressive in the stat column.

    After a 10-for-22, 98-yard performance in the opener against Oregon, Lee has completed 30 of his last 37 passes for 346 yards against Northwestern State and Mississippi State. LSU will continue to be a run-first offense as the season progresses, but Lee's play has been exactly what the Tigers need to keep defenses on their heels.  

Bennie Logan

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    Logan has been a force on the defensive line for the Tigers, notching 3.5 tackles for loss to go with half a sack.

    Ever since Barkevious Mingo ran down Oregon's LaMichael James on a read option, a lot of the talk surrounding the defensive line has centered around the speedy defensive end. However, Logan has been doing his part, and more, in stone-walling opposing offenses.  

Kevin Minter

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    You can't blame people for overlooking LSU's linebacking corps.

    The secondary and defensive line are loaded with such talent that one almost forgets they're even there.

    But Minter has done an admirable job at the middle backer position and serving as the core of the defense that has allowed only 48 rushing yards per game.