Something to Prove

Only two weeks remain until the close of LSU spring practice. Which five Tigers have the most to prove before the players and staff part ways following the spring game?

Four practices, one intrasquad scrimmage and the spring game.

That's all that remains of spring football for LSU as the Tigers continue running downhill toward the 2013 season. For many on the team it's this precious remaining time that will leave a lasting impression on the coaching staff until everybody returns in August for Fall Camp.

Here is the short list of Tigers, in no particular order, with the most to prove before the end of the spring game next Saturday.

OT Jerald Hawkins

Several players find themselves on this list because they've dug a bit of a hole. With Hawkins that's not the case. On the contrary the redshirt freshman belongs in this category because he's been gifted an opportunity to shine. Starting right tackle Vadal Alexander (knee) is out for the remainder of the spring, opening up a spot in the first team for Hawkins. The staff already loved Hawkins' athleticism and considered him the primary backup at both tackle spots. Now, with a window to impress, the 6-6, 300-pound youngster can heat up competition at right tackle and give the line more reliable depth come fall.

MLB D.J. Welter

Welter constitutes another example of a player who's done nothing wrong to land here. What's weird about his situation is that most externally seem to be expecting him to fail. John Chavis surprised a lot of people when he began spring ball with Welter, not Lamin Barrow (or even Kwon Alexander), as the first-team Mike linebacker. At 6-0, 226 pounds, he's not the most physically imposing candidate to take over for Kevin Minter, but he does possess the necessary communication skills and is entering his fourth season in the program. Welter can do himself a big favor by keeping the pedal to the metal these next two weeks because competition at linebacker – the deepest unit on LSU's team in 2013 – will only pick up in August.

DE Danielle Hunter

It would be fair to classify Hunter, a rising sophomore, as one Tiger who is attempting to climb back after a slow start to the spring. Originally a starter opposite Jermauria Rasco, Hunter has given way to redshirt junior Jordan Allen and has been given a not-so-subtle message by position coach Brick Haley to work on his technique or suffer the consequences. The 6-5, 235-pound native of Katy, Tex., can help his stock tremendously in the upcoming weeks by showing he can be a force against the run. With limited numbers along the D-Line, Hunter will have ample opportunities in the team's scrimmage Saturday and the spring game the following week.

WR Travin Dural

The first thing Dural has to prove is that he can stay healthy. Dural turned a lot of heads last August during his first Fall Camp at LSU before succumbing to an ACL injury that robbed him of his freshman season. Now a redshirt freshman, the receiver from Breaux Bridge has been a mixed bag this spring. He reportedly was phenomenal in the Tigers' opening intrasquad scrimmage but was unable to participate in the second one due to an undisclosed injury (although the picture above may indicate his left knee is still bothering him). Before the break Les Miles said a healthy Dural would be a prime candidate to be LSU's starting X receiver. Now, and of course in the coming months, would be a good time for Dural to stamp his claim to that important position.

DT Quentin Thomas

Thomas' situation is similar to Hunter's, only without the expectations. Both are returning players on a thin defensive line, numbers-wise, and both are basically the only barrier between the starting two at their respective positions and true freshmen. In respect to Thomas, if the 6-3, 294-pound redshirt sophomore, who was injured for a portion of spring, can't show more than he has to date, it will be inevitable that the likes of Christian Lacouture, Greg Gilmore and maybe even Maquedius Bain, all incoming freshmen, leave him in the depth-chart dust. Only one of those three frosh, LaCouture, is currently on campus. But the other two are coming and soon. Thomas' time to gain separation is dwindling quickly.

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