This is part of a 10-part series counting down to the start of LSU's preseason camp July 31. One part is being published each day beginning July 21 and running through July 30.
QB Danny Etling
Career numbers: 22 starts, 27 TDs, 17 INTs, 57 percent completion percentage
Count on 'em: The presumed starter at the most important position on the field, Etling heads into his fifth season of college football loaded with experience and knowledge of the game. He started 10 games last season and 12 more during a two-year stint at Purdue. Etling has proved to be a stable leader who combats his lack of five-star talent with intelligence. He's a savvy player who last season gave the Tigers their most accurate passer since Zach Mettenberger in 2013.
LT K.J. Malone
Career numbers: 12 starts, 70-plus knockdown blocks
Count on 'em: Malone nearly left football over the offseason, but coaches persuaded him to stay on and serve as the Tigers' left tackle for a second straight season. He played the second-most regular-season snaps of any lineman last year, anchoring the left side to protect quarterbacks Brandon Harris and Danny Etling. Karl Malone's son struggled early before progressing by season's end. He helped LSU's offensive line rank as the nation's best, according to Pro Football Focus.
WR D.J. Chark
Career numbers: 26 catches, 466 yards
Count on 'em: The Alexandria native bypassed the NFL draft after last season, returning to lead a young and inexperienced receiving corps. He's the Tigers' go-to guy in the air — and potentially on the ground, too: Chark will likely be one of a handful of players taking jet sweeps, an integral play in new coordinator Matt Canada's offense. Chark broke onto the scene last season. He entered 2016 with no career catches and finished with 26, taking advantage of defenses that didn't know his name. He won't have that luxury in 2017.
- July 21: Three offensive starting battles
- July 22: Three defensive starting battles
- July 23: Three defensive rookies you should know
- July 24: Three offensive rookies you should know
- July 25: Three defensive seniors to count on
- July 26: Three offensive seniors to count on
- July 27: Three defensive reserves pushing to play
- July 28: Three offensive reserves pushing to play
- July 29: Strongest and weakest position groups
- July 30: Three bold predictions