Spring practice: Thursday report

The TigerSportsDigest.com team brings you notes from Thursday afternoon's practice at LSU.

  • LSU junior linebacker Josh Johns was absent from practice for the second time this week, and there is talk that Johns has left the program permanently.

    Johns, a Central High graduate, has recorded two tackles in his two years of action after taking a redshirt in 2009.

    When camp began last week, Johns was working as the backup linebacker to Tahj Jones.

  • On Monday, LSU coach Les Miles said juniors Kevin Minter (MLB) and Tahj Jones (SLB) had two of the three starting linebacker spots locked up.

    On Thursday, defensive coordinator John Chavis worked out Jones, Minter and fellow junior Lamin Barrow as the first three linebackers to the field.

    The second-team was made up of freshman Lamar Louis and juniors D.J. Welter and Luke Muncie.

    If Chavis goes digging for a fourth linebacker, Muncie is the likely choice on the outside and Welter on the inside.

    Muncie looks the part physically and appears to have some of the best lateral speed in the group.

  • As expected, the defensive backs have not shifted the starting four around yet this spring, sticking with Tharold Simon and Tyrann Mathieu at cornerback and Eric Reid and Craig Loston at safety.

    Sophomore Ronnie Vinson and redshirt freshmen Jalen Collins and David Jenkins continue to rotate in the third cornerback spot.

    Vinson appears to be a candidate for a spot as an extra defensive back in the dime packages, much like Ron Brooks was used towards the back end of his career at LSU.

    With his long arms, ball skills and physical play at the line of scrimmage, Collins also appears ready to step to the field, and word from a couple of his fellow defensive backs is that Collins is making the strongest push for the third cornerback spot, which would be among the starting 11 when the Tigers go to the nickel package.

  • The starting four on the defensive line has also taken shape.

    LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley used Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo at defensive end with Josh Downs and Bennie Logan at defensive tackle.

    Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson are currently running with the second-string line at defensive tackle, with Jermauria Rasco and Jordan Allen as the backups at defensive end.

  • After freshman linebacker Ronnie Feist stole the stage with a big win over sophomore running back Kenny Hilliard during Tuesday's big cat drill, Miles stuck the newcomer up against some stiffer competition on Thursday: 6-foot-1 and 280 pound fullback J.C. Copeland, a converted defensive tackle.

    To Feist's credit, the incoming freshman held Copeland at a standstill for a few seconds before Copeland drove Feist back and onto the ground.

  • On the recruiting trail, Miles spent a majority of the practice session working out the tight ends - who were being watched by Naples, Fla., four-star 2013 tight end prospect Mike Heuerman.

    Heuerman has already made an unofficial visit to Miami on March 3 and plans to visit Notre Dame on March 31.

    Heuerman, the No. 9 tight end prospect in the country, is one of four tight ends in the 2013 class that already hold scholarship offers from LSU.

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