Publisher's Notes: Every weekday until the LSU football team reports for Fall Camp on Sunday, Aug. 4, TSD will unveil another player in our top 50 Tigers for the 2013 season. We arrived at this list by combining individual rankings from TSD's Austin Cooper, Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua. For example, a player who received a No. 1 vote got 50 points, a No. 2 vote got 49 points, and so on. Every player who received votes had his points totaled across all three individual lists, and the result was our final TSD ranking. All players, including incoming signees, were eligible for selection.
No. 35 – TE Desean Smith
Another week in TSD's top 50 countdown for 2013, another true freshman to lead things off. Barbe product DeSean Smith, a tight end with wide receiver skills and hands, is LSU's top tight end in our rankings, finishing ahead of Travis Dickson (No. 46), spring starter Dillon Gordon (No. 43) and JuCo transfer Logan Stokes (received votes). Only two true freshmen are left to be revealed in the top 34 spots.
Part of what makes Smith and his potential so enticing is the skill set. At 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds, Smith still has plenty of agility, speed and footwork to serve as an ideal flex tight end and could even line up as a slot receiver depending on the situation. He's also a polished route runner for a player coming from high school. It's hard to consider all of these attributes and think new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, a longtime proponent of throwing to the tight end, won't find ways to utilize the athletic Smith right away.
By The Numbers
Smith's highest ranking: 29th
Smith's lowest ranking: 42nd
Why this ranking is too high
It's still too soon to determine if Smith has what it takes in the trenches to be a dual-threat tight end. Cameron likes what he gets from Gordon because, at 280 pounds, Gordon can be a physical in-line blocker but also has fairly nimble feet and catch the football. Smith most certainly can fulfill one of those roles, but until he bulks up, it seems doubtful he can be an effective run-blocker in the SEC. That's the key to Smith eventually becoming an every down player at LSU.
Why this ranking is too low
Smith may have a niche and reputation as a pass-catching tight end, but he's awfully good in that one department, so much so that he really could add another dimension to LSU's passing game all by himself. That's quite a statement for a true freshman, and it gives you a good idea of just how promising Smith is coming into Baton Rouge. With all the talent the Tigers have spread across the offense from wide receiver to running back, Smith has a chance to be a great security blanket for Zach Mettenberger for short to intermediate routes.
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View TSD's Top 50 to date
No. 35 - DeSean Smith
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