No. 16 - Ronald Martin

All summer long TSD will unveil our top 50 LSU football players for the 2013 season. TSD's Ben Love, Austin Cooper and Hunter Paniagua compiled the rankings. Today the countdown stops at number 16, junior safety Ronald Martin.

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. 16 – S Ronald Martin

With Eric Reid off to the NFL, junior Ronald Martin will finally take over the reins as LSU's starting free safety in 2013. The White Castle native has played in 16 career games in two seasons, making one start. As the Tigers' third safety a season ago, Martin totaled 35 tackles (10th on the team) and two interceptions (tied for third), with one returned for a touchdown, as primarily a reserve.

Entering Fall Camp, Martin (6-foot-1, listed at 202 pounds but looks bigger) has solidified his spot opposite senior Craig Loston in the starting lineup. He figures to receive plenty of competition from up-and-coming sophomore Corey Thompson, but for now, Martin's experience and versatility – he plays the pass as well as any safety currently on LSU's roster – has won out. This is after all an athlete good enough to spend part of a season on the Tiger basketball team already in his purple-and-gold career.

By The Numbers

Martin's highest ranking: 16th
Martin's lowest ranking: 22nd

Why this ranking is too high

Martin is yet to show he can handle the burden of play-calling, check-making and all other above-the-neck responsibilities Reid was so good with the past two seasons. There's a lot that goes into backfilling for Reid, both physically and mentally, and Martin, who's only really been an understudy so far, will have to learn on the fly. He'll also have to prove he can help stop the run as effectively as Reid did in the box when called upon.

Why this ranking is too low

Martin is TSD's second-highest rated safety and third-highest DB overall, and that's in a pretty talented secondary, so obviously there's a lot of promise and upside. Plus, in fairly limited playing time, Martin did compile some impressive stats and make his mark a year ago. Given a larger role finally, there's plenty of reason to believe the White Castle native will flourish. He's got the size and speed needed to cover ground at his position.

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