QUESTION: Which LSU player had the most surprising season in 2013?
Ben Love: If we're going with which player surprised the most in a positive way, I'm staying on the offensive side of the ball, where LSU did a lot right this fall, and riding with junior running back Terrence Magee.
The former high school quarterback, and stud baseball player, at Franklinton spent his first year in Baton Rouge at running back and his second, a year ago, at wide receiver. Three positions in three years is enough to make anybody wonder how much that player can contribute, especially when looking at the numbers. Magee ran it 27 times for 133 yards (4.9 ypc) and a touchdown as a freshman while carrying once for no gain and hauling in one reception for seven yards as a sophomore.
And, even though he started 2013 behind Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill, Magee exploded out of the gate against TCU and became a vital part of LSU's offense, when given chances, all season long. Magee rushed 79 times for 614 yards (7.8 ypc) and eight touchdowns to go with six catches for 49 yards. He crossed the century mark in three games despite garnering double-digit carries only twice. Magee truly was instant offense in 2013, and his performance leaves a lot to be excited about for the LSU offense in 2014.
Hunter Paniagua: I'll be honest. I didn't expect Rashard Robinson to play at all this season. I wasn't even certain he'd make it to campus after the ordeal with the NCAA Clearinghouse. So for him to emerge as one of LSU's top cornerbacks has to be the biggest surprise of this year.
Robinson didn't get to spend the summer in Baton Rouge working through Tommy Moffitt's training regiment with the rest of his 2013 classmates. When you consider how skinny he is, I figured he needed to add significant muscle before he'd be able to handle the rigors of SEC football. But when he finally arrived on campus days before the start of the season, Robinson immediately started getting high praise from those that saw him in action. He made his debut only a week after strapping on his LSU pads for the first time when the Tigers played UAB.
From then on he received extensive playing time as LSU's third CB and eventually got his first start against Texas A&M. That's when he really arrived. Robinson spent the entire game shutting down Mike Evans, arguably one of the best receivers in the country. Not many corners in the country can say they've done that, and Robinson did it in his first start. It was quite the way to springboard a career, and the sky seems to be the limit from here on out. Expect Robinson to make a strong push to be the Tigers' No. 1 CB when the 2014 season starts in Reliant Stadium.