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. 20 – OT Vadal Alexander
One of the team's most productive true freshmen a season ago, Vadal Alexander played in all 13 games for LSU, starting and playing every snap of the Tigers' final nine games of 2012 at right tackle. He totaled 49.5 knockdowns on the season and was voted Freshman All-SEC by the conference's coaches. It was truly a dream season for Alexander up until the bowl game, when the Buford, Ga., native rushed back from a knee injury and struggled to contain Clemson's pass rush.
That cloud of uncertainty lingered over Alexander (6-foot-6, 350 pounds) into the offseason as the player was forced to miss a chunk of spring practices and the spring game while dealing with that same knee injury. Alexander is expected to be back at or near full strength by the time Fall Camp rolls around, but he'll have to continue to solidify his starting right tackle spot with Jerald Hawkins (No. 32 on TSD's countdown) lurking.
By The Numbers
Alexander's highest ranking: 19th
Alexander's lowest ranking: 22nd
Why this ranking is too high
In a ‘what have you done for me lately' type of world, Alexander hasn't brought nearly as much value to the table in recent memory. His performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, albeit on a bum knee and probably rushed back too quickly, was awful, a far cry from the level he'd been playing at to close out the regular season. There's also a bit of unknown with Alexander when contemplating how he'll bounce back from the injury. In some respects, you have to see to believe he'll regain his prior form and take the next step in his development.
Why this ranking is too low
Alexander was a monster at right tackle once he got settled in for the final handful of games in the 2012 regular season. LSU went from being a team that was having major problems protecting the quarterback to one that suddenly gave Zach Mettenberger more time in the pocket and cleared the way for routine 100-yard games for Jeremy Hill. Not all of this is attributable to Alexander, but some of it certainly is. He's also got tremendous size at 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds. If healthy Alexander could easily grade out higher than this ranking.
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View TSD's Top 50 to date
No. 20 - Vadal Alexander
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