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John Battle stands in the center of a group of LSU football players, showing off photos he took of them during the spring.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

John Battle hopes to perform well enough this season to leave for the NFL draft.

The LSU safety has a fallback plan now, though. The NCAA gave Battle a medical hardship waiver for his freshman season of 2014, news that emerged Tuesday. He has been reclassified as a fourth-year junior, giving him eligibility in 2018 if he wants it.

"It’s something I’m going to take in consideration," Battle said Thursday on ESPN 104.5 FM's morning show, Off The Bench. "Hopefully I could leave this year, but if it’s not God’s plan, got another year to do it all over again."

Battle, a Florida native and part-time starter last year, is expected to be one of LSU's starting safeties. His role is made more significant by the youth surrounding him, something he discussed Thursday during his 10-minute radio interview.

The Tigers lost three defensive backs from last season's team, including two NFL first-round selections: safety Jamal Adams (sixth overall), cornerback Tre'Davious White (27th overall) and nickelback/safety Dwayne Thomas. Senior Ed Paris manned the safety spot opposite Battle during spring practice, but a host of rookies are pushing to play, including Grant Delpit, Todd Harris and Jacoby Stevens. 

Battle is taking a leadership role with the young guys after the departure of Adams, White and Thomas.

"As far as skill set-wise, we’ve got a lot of young guys who can come in and step up and play those roles," Battle said. "Just getting them acclimated and adjusted to the speed of the game and understand the flow of the college game from high school to college.

"They’re all buying in. Good group of kids," he continued. "I text them, maybe, like, 7 in the morning, ‘Come to the DB room at 12:30; got to watch film.’ I try to set them up the best way and explain things the best way so when camp comes, we can just roll."

The Tigers report July 30, and camp starts July 31.

Summer workouts are winding down. Summer had a different look this year under Ed Orgeron, LSU's first new head coach in 12 years. Players participated in more competition-like activities during training, for example.

Also, a more up-tempo theme enveloped workouts, Battle said. Even linemen were involved in speed and agility work, a change from previous summers.

"A lot of change-direction things, more explosive coming off the ball now with the D-line and offensive line. Most of the time, those guys weren’t doing shuttles and things like that, but they’re out there doing shuttles with the skill (guys)," Battle said. "Just getting everybody acclimated and ready to get adjusted to the speed. Coach O likes to go fast. Pedal to the metal. That’s the way we practice. Everything is a lot more tempo."

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.