When LSU tees it up for spring football work this Saturday, there will be a few musts that the staff has to address. Key young players are set to step up to the challenge of filling important roles.
All players are under the microscope and I didn’t list everyone. But some are worth extra attention for various reasons. In some cases, players will be limited due to injuries. Other will be expected to take big steps forward ahead of the fall.
In no particular order:
WR Dee Anderson
With Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre off to the NFL, someone needs to grab the baton – or in this case, the ball. The 6-foot-4, 200 pound sophomore from DeSoto, Texas reminds me of another former Lonestar state product who shined for the Tigers, long-time NFL wideout Brandon ‘Jo Jo’ LaFell.
Anderson played in 11 contests last season with two starts, snaring four balls for 73 yards. He is a big receiver but sinks his hips well and flashes big, reliable hands. He is exceedingly fast for his size with a 4.54 forty.
DT Rashard Lawrence
With nine appearances in ’16, this sophomore talent has a big college career ahead of him. He plays with a red-hot motor. LSU expects his to form great tandem with Christian LaCouture in the first unti this season.
Lawrence can play anywhere along the defensive line. His explosive strength is always on full display because he plays with an attitude. I believe he can be another Glenn Dorsey level star. He has a super first step off the snap, gets his hands under opponents’ pads and plays with leverage. Lewis Neal and Davon Godchaux leave a void, but the Neville High product appears ready to fill it.
LB Corey Thompson
After missing all of 2016 with injury, Thompson has the chance to shine as a rangy defender. He has terrific blood lines – his dad was a wide receiver at Texas A&M and his mom was an All-American track runner who was an alternate for 1972 U.S. Olympic team.
Thompson (6-2, 222) fractured an ankle last fall and tore ACL in 2013, also missing ’14. Penciled in as starter in the 2016 preseason, he is a converted safety who is good in coverage, adjusts to plays quickly and is considered dependable against the run a s an every down player. I expect big things out of him in the spring and going into fall.
DB JaCoby Stevens
The 5 star signee last month out of Mufreesboro, Tennessee was the top safety in his class nationally. Steven (6-1, 200) is in the mold of Jamal Adams and Eric Reid with Patrick Peterson type potential impact. Yes, he is special.
The Tigers lose Adams, Rickey Jefferson and Dwayne Thomas, so Stevens is in ideal spot to play immediately. His nose for ball and physicals gifts mean he is destined for the NFL. Stevens could even get reps at wide receiver.
QB Lindsey Scott
The 5-foot-11 redshirt freshman was the 2015 Louisiana Gatorade Player of Year after leading Zachary High to a state title. He has tremendous leadership ability and a high IQ for the demands of the position, not to mention a 3.8 GPA. He reminds me of former LSU starter Herb Tyler, who had to play as a true freshman and never relinquished the starting job.
Scott will be afforded every opportunity to serve as backup to senior Danny Etling, so that means he may be one play away from the pressure cooker.
EDGE Sci Martin
At 240 pounds, the former McDonogh 35 standout could grow to over 260 pounds. He ran 110 meter hurdles in high school and wears size 14 shoes at 6-foot-4, but he is not finished growing.
Martin has a great first step and uses hands well as a pass rusher. More quick than fast, he plays with juice. As a prep senior, he recorded 33.5 sacks. Martin fits as the type of outside linebacker needed for the 3-4 defense to work.
LB Michael Divinity
This spring practice marks his second at LSU since he enrolled early. He played nine games with 13 tackles and made strides in his true freshman season. Versatile enough to fill many roles, he is a player that the defense can rally around.
Ehret has produced some outstanding linebackers including former LSU starter Lamin Barrow, Thaddeus Washington and Mike Phillips at Colorado. Divinity (6-2, 234) could be best of the lot. A one time quarterback, he has great range and the right mindset to lead.
LB Isaiah Washington
A raw athlete who can really run, Washington is learning to play outside linebacker. The Edna Karr product suffered an injury in 2016 camp, taking away his chance to contribute last season.
Washington (6-4, 236) has great burst off the edge. Penciled in to back up Arden Key, he has had the chance to observe and learn. Coaches believe he is now ready to go. Great range, athleticism and no quit attitude makes him a factor for the upcoming season. He covers well enough in the flat to stay on the field.
CB Kristian Fulton
The former Rummel Raider star will former a tandem with Donte’ Jackson. Rated the third best corner in the nation from ’16 class, Fulton has lockdown ability. He had 11 interceptions in 2014, with three in one game.
Surgery on his finger in ’16 is no longer a factor for Fulton, who has great hips, locates balls int eh air fast and shows no fear in run support. He can erase receivers. With Tre’ Davious White’s departure, Fulton (6-2, 188, 4.43) is the next man up at DBU.
EDGE Andre Anthony
A late start in 2016 due to eligibility issues not related to him were a tough way to start. Oregon, Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida really wanted Anthony, who has worked extremely hard in weight room. What was a 210-pound frame six months ago is now 240 and chiseled.
Anthony, another Karr alum, uses his hands very well and knows what is expected at this level of competition.
ILB Devin White
An elite athlete who anchored 4X100 and 4X200 relays at North Webster, White (6’0-255) agreed that linebacker was his future over running back. He will not regret it. He had 1,650 yards and 31 touchdowns adding 192 tackles on defense in high school.
White had 30 tackles with three for loss and one sack in a limited role as a true freshman for the Tigers in ’16. A smart young man with a 3.6 GPA, he learned a great deal from Kendall Beckwith and Duke Riley. Those two will play in the NFL, but White has all the ability to follow them one day.