Twitter Mailbag is a blog series running each Tuesday answering readers’ questions about the LSU football and teams. Readers submit their questions through Twitter each Tuesday, and the best are posted here with answers. Follow us on Twitter at @DellengerAdv to submit a question.
There are several players on each side of the ball that are, indeed, natural leaders. It’s pretty obvious.
Offensively, it’s tough not to say receiver Malachi Dupre. It seems odd. He’s so young and all, but Dupre seemed to take charge of the receiver position during spring drills.
Also on offense, I’d pick a guy like right tackle Vadal Alexander, who has evolved into a leader, seeing as he’s one of the few players who will be beginning Year 4 with the Tigers. That’s a rarity in this era of college football, especially at LSU. Lastly on offense, I’d throw in receiver John Diarse. He’s entering his third year on the team. Diarse is one of those 20-year-olds who acts 40.
Defensively, linebackers Lamar Louis and Kendell Beckwith stick out as leaders on that side of things. Toss in LB Deion Jones, too. All of those guys have been in the program for a while and have worked their way up to one of the lead roles on LSU’s defense.
Defensive back Jalen Mills, another veteran, heads into his senior season. He’s a vocal player who can rally the troops. The same can be said for safety Jamal Adams, a guy who’s young – just a true sophomore – but plays like a grizzled veteran and leads through actions and his outgoing personality.
If you’re looking at sacks-only, it won’t be too difficult. LSU had just 19 sacks last season. That’s a key worry for some heading into this season: Can the Tigers put enough pressure on the QB? Jermauria Rasco had four sacks, but no one else had more than 2.5.
It’s tough to see LSU having that much better of a year on the D-line. The Tigers lost their top two ends and have some depth issues up front, specifically at defensive tackle.
All of that said, Christian LaCouture is in Year 3 and Davon Godchaux has a full season of experience under him so that’ll help. At end, the Tigers have some young guys who will challenge for playing time and possibly take over the spots by mid-season. Sophomores Deondre Clark and Sione Teuhema excelled at times as reserves last season. Teuhema, used as a speedy pass-rusher, had two sacks. Freshmen Arden Key and Isaiah Washington, both four star prospects, join the team, too.
Basically what I’m saying is this: If some of the young ends come on strong, LSU’s line can be better than last season, yes.
This happens every year on most major college football teams – attrition. Take for instance Missouri. MU has lost five players over the last few months.
LSU is having more attrition than usual this off-season, I’ll grant you that. Seven players have left since January: CB Rashard Robinson, FB Melvin Jones, D-linemen Trey Lealaimatafao, Travonte Valentine and Maquedius Bain, linebacker Clifton Garrett and receiver Avery Peterson.
Most of the above were highly rated signees and guys many thought would eventually land a starting gig or at least help in some way. Each likely has a different reason for leaving so you can’t really cast a wide net over them with one specific thing.
We know this: Trey L, Valentine and Garrett were all close. They seemed to hang in the same circle. Robinson and Jones failed on the academic end. Peterson, highly touted out of high school, played in just one game in his career. He was down on the depth chart.
You nailed the top three, certainly. Safety Jalen Mills should play a big role this season on the field and off the field. He’s the rare senior in a starting role. Look for him to make some waves.
Deion Jones is a head hunter type who’s made waves on special teams for years. Now, he has his shot to make them defensively. He should start.
Derrius Guice and Donte Jackson have seemed to take most of the freshman headlines so far, but not many are talking about the immediate impact of the state’s No. 1 recruit in 2015: WR Tyron Johnson.
Coaches proved last season that they’re not scared to play freshmen receivers. Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn played substantial roles at times in 2014. Is Johnson the next rookie up?
This is a good question and something I can’t honestly answer correctly, but, if I had to guess, yes. The Tigers get some input. Scheduling isn’t easy. The SEC works with each school in developing the schedules. It’s more of a group project among all of the schools and the SEC office.