#7 LSU Football 2014 Preview

LSU Tigers

Overall Rank: #7
#3 SEC

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LSU had nine players drafted last May, the most of any school in the country. Five of them were underclassmen including Odell Beckham Jr. and Jeremy Hill. So you would think the expectations wouldn’t be too high for the Tigers, but the ‘experts’ that are picking LSU to finish 5th in the SEC West are not aware that there’s a guy by the name of Leonard Fournette coming to Baton Rouge, along with Malachi Dupre, Clifton Garrett, Jamal Adams, Trey Quinn, and Brandon Harris. LSU lost a lot of talent, but Les Miles arguably has the best freshmen class in the country coming in.

2013 Record: 10-3, 5-3)
2013 Bowl: Outback Bowl vs Iowa (W 21-14)
Coach: Les Miles (95-24 at LSU, 123-36 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Cam Cameron
Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Terrance McGee, RB, 614 yards
Passing: Anthony Jennings, QB, 99 yards
Receiving: Travin Dural, WR, 145 yards
Tackles: Jalen Mills, CB, 67
Sacks: Jalen Mills, CB, 3; Dwayne Thomas, CB, 3; Danielle Hunter, DE, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Kenny Hilliard, TE Travis Dickson, FB Connor Neighbors, K Colby Delahoussaye, LB Kwon Alexander, CB Jalen Collins, DB Tre’Davious White, DE Jermauria Rasco

Key Losses: QB Zach Mettenberger, WR Odell Beckham, WR Jarvis Landry, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Alred Blue, DT Ego Ferguson, DT Anthony Johnson, FB JC Copeland, LB Lamin Barrow, OG Trai Turner, WR James Wright

One of LSU’s strengths would have to be the run game. In the Les Miles era, LSU has a history of being loaded with outstanding ball carriers, and that should be the case again this season.  Their two main guys last year, Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue, were both drafted in to the NFL. However, “Buga Nation” is Baton Rouge bound as the #1 overall prospect by ESPN committed to play for the Tigers. He’s arguably the most hyped up freshman ever as Les Miles compared him to Michael Jordan at the SEC Media Days. Yes, that Michael Jordan. He has incredible strength and footwork, rushing for over 6,000 yards and tallying 72 total touchdowns in just three years of playing high school football. He will be a force this season, but so will Terrance Magee who rushed for eight touchdowns and 629 yards in his junior campaign. Kenny Hilliard will be back as well. Their offensive line also has Tiger fans excited as La’el Collins will be back for his senior season and will lead the Tigers up front. Lastly, their depth at the safety position cannot be matched with Ricky Jefferson, Jamal Adams and Ed Paris. Defensive coordinator John Chavis has been pleased so far with what he’s seen from Jamal Adams. Look for him to play a big role as a freshman.

The losses of Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson will hurt the Tigers’ defensive line. And earlier in fall camp, Quentin Thomas suffered torn biceps and is expected to miss the entire 2014 season. However, they do have Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter back and healthy, along with sophomore Christian Lacouture. Those three will need to step up in a big way if LSU wants to be successful bringing down the quarterback. Another concern for LSU is the experience at the wide receiver position. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry will be playing on Sundays this season, and they also lost James Wright. Travin Dural is the most experienced receiver they have and he only had seven receptions last season. They did manage to pick up some very talented recruits in Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn so that freshmen duo will be a key part of the Bayou Bengal offense.

The Bottom Line:
LSU has a very young, but very talented football team. I think that quarterback play is the key. It is still unknown who will start week 1 for the Tigers; Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris. Whoever the starter is this season, he will play a huge role in what kind of year the Tigers have. If the starting QB can produce and LSU’s youth can step up, I believe that LSU can challenge Alabama and Auburn for the SEC West title if not win it. Yes, they lost a lot of key players from last season, but one thing I know is that the future is bright in Baton Rouge.

Projected Bowl: Peach Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 202.3 (29th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 251.0 (44, 6)
Total Offense: 453.3 (35, 7)
Scoring Offense: 35.8 (23, 6)
Rushing Defense: 143.2 (35, 3)
Pass Defense: 197.5 (13, 4)
Total Defense: 340.7 (15, 3)
Scoring Defense: 22.0 (21, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (61, 9)
Sacks: 2.08 (59, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (57, 9)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#20 La'el Collins
#41 Jalen Collins
#77 Ronald Martin
#86 Jeremiah Rasco

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#1 Leonard Fournette
#18 Malachi Dupre
#20 Jamal Adams
#31 Clifton Garrett
#45 Edward Paris
#50 Trey Quinn
#67 Travonte Valentine
#70 Garrett Brumfield
#100 Brandon Harris
#165 Deondre Clark
#166 Davon Godchaux
#188 Darrel Williams


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