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. 8 – S Craig Loston
A day after Jalen Mills was listed as TSD's top-rated cornerback at No. 9, redshirt senior Craig Loston is our highest-ranked safety and defensive back in general. The Houston native, nicknamed "Poppa," has always had a penchant for the big hit and, up until last season, getting injured. But Loston was largely able to stave away injury in 2012, parlaying his junior season into All-SEC honors as he amassed 55 tackles, one fumble recovery and three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.
In 2013 Loston will take on even more responsibility at strong safety now that Eric Reid has moved on to the NFL. Ronald Martin will step into Reid's shoes as a starter at free safety, but you can bet it will take him and Loston working in tandem to match much of what Reid brought to the table in terms of organizing the defense and calling checks. If he can stay healthy, there aren't many more intimidating or hard-hitting players in the SEC than Loston.
By The Numbers
Loston's highest ranking: 10th
Loston's lowest ranking: 11th
Why this ranking is too high
Just looking at our individual rankings above, none of the three of us at TSD voted Loston higher than 10th, yet he falls ahead of players like Jalen Mills and Trai Turner only because those players received at least one outlier vote low enough to sink them. On the field, there are really only two legitimate knocks on Loston's game. One: staying injury-free and not always going for the knockout blow. Two: coverage skills. Combining all that, a fair argument could be made this ranking is a touch too high.
Why this ranking is too low
In a secondary undergoing a good bit of change and relying on a lot of youth, Loston represents experience and is really the rock of the back four entering 2013. His talents were truly on display a season ago when he was able to ward off the injury bug. Should he be able to do that again, at least for the most part, this fall, there's always been the potential in Loston, even since high school, for him to be an elite player on the collegiate level.
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View TSD's Top 50 to date
No. 8 - Craig Loston
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