More than a week removed from LSU's spring game, it's time to take stock of the 2013 Tigers and where they stand all over the gridiron.
Every day this week I will put a different position grouping under the microscope, filling out my picks to a set list of seven different categories and providing two numerical ratings.
I began yesterday with the offensive line. CLICK HERE to read that spring listing.
Today it's onto the offensive skill players.
Best Player: Tie – RB Jeremy Hill, FB J.C. Copeland
His recent misdemeanor arrest and indefinite suspension aside, I believe many would agree that Hill was the most impressive offensive Tiger this spring. The rising sophomore owned the spring game and looked every bit the imposing backfield figure Les Miles and Frank Wilson covet. Of course the guy leading him through the hole may be one of the most valuable offensive weapons in the country. Copeland, gearing up for his senior campaign, is absolutely fearless and embodies the physical style of play Miles and Cam Cameron plan to establish. If both are healthy and in good standing with the team, this is as good as it's been in a while for an LSU backfield tandem.
Best Spring: Tie – WR Jarvis Landry, WR Travin Dural, TE Dillon Gordon
A three-way tie may seem like a cop-out, but each of the trio belongs for a different reason. Landry continued to prove he's the favorite target of Zach Mettenberger, posting gaudy numbers in the first few scrimmages and producing in the spring game as well. Dural, a redshirt freshman, took the next step in his ascent toward being the starting X receiver, staying healthy for the most part and really impressing with his hands and in-air ball skills. Gordon stood his ground, despite JuCo transfer Logan Stokes coming in, and the sophomore-to-be proved he can not only be a physical in-line blocker but can factor into the passing game, too. Look for him to be LSU's No. 1 option at tight end entering Fall Camp.
Best Young Player: QB Anthony Jennings
Jennings may have been the surprise of spring football. The early enrollee from Marietta, Ga., showcased a better arm than some expected and possesses a good deal of mobility. That combination may just get Jennings onto the field some as a true freshman. He's still technically the No. 3 QB behind Mettenberger and Stephen Rivers, but it should surprise nobody if he eventually finds his way to second string or at least has a small portion of the game plan carved out for him.
Worst Spring: WR James Wright
It's not always about what you do, but what others around you at your position do. In the case of Wright, who's entering his final year at LSU, the rise of Dural and steady influence of fellow senior Kadron Boone makes him slink into the background pretty quickly. In the post-Rueben Randle era, Wright has been given every chance to be the Tigers' big-bodied X receiver. Last season, due to his shoulder injury and, frankly, a lack of production, the shorter Boone was given the lion's share of the snaps. Now, Dural is coming on strong and Quantavius Leslie is scheduled to join the fray in August. The picture got even murkier for Wright this spring.
Banged Up: RB Alfred Blue, QB Rob Bolden
A couple of guys rehabbing from knee injuries make this list. Blue actually wore full pads throughout spring and looked pretty stellar, running and cutting well, despite donning the green no-contact jersey. His is a position already secured, though, as Blue, a senior, is considered the 1 or 1-A at running back, along with Hill. Bolden's position isn't nearly as solidified. The Penn State transfer actually went through much of what Wright did in the list above, watching Jennings' stock rise this spring. Both are expected to be 100% come Fall Camp.
Don't Forget About: RB Terrence Magee
Even before Hill's weekend run-in with the law, Magee was looking like a more important figure in the LSU offense leading up to the 2013 season. The cross-trained running back/receiver moved full-time into the backfield this spring and reminded many of his broad range of skills – running, pass-blocking, pass-catching, route-running. He's a terrific weapon in Cameron's offense and gives LSU a change-of-pace dimension at running back, unlike the other primary backup, Kenny Hilliard, who's cut from a cloth more similar to Hill and Blue. Magee will be heard from this fall.
Biggest Summer Subject: Mettenberger's improvement
In my Q&A with Cameron prior to the spring game, he reminded that a college quarterback's biggest stage of growth typically comes in the offseason after they've gone through their first full season as a starter. That's where Mettenberger is now and, according to Cameron, the rising senior is progressing well and also assimilating the new offense and terminology. If he can take his game to another (more consistent) level, the LSU offense could carry a lot more of the weight for the Tigers in 2013.
QB Starter Rating (on scale from 1-10): 7.5
QB Depth Rating: 5.5
RB Starter Rating: 9
RB Depth Rating: 6
WR Starters Rating: 8
WR Depth Rating: 6
TE Starter Rating: 7
TE Depth Rating: 7
Spring Listing: Offensive Skill Players
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