Catching up with the Class of 2013

TSD caught up with five key members of the 2013 signing class poised for big seasons in 2014. Christian LaCouture, John Diarse, Anthony Jennings, Kendell Beckwith and Tre'Davious White discuss their improvement from their first year on campus.

LSU has a policy against true freshmen speaking to the media. They're available once during Media Day, which happens a few weeks before the start of the season, and unless they do something remarkable during a game, they're off-limits the rest of the way.

So once spring practice rolls around, that provides the first chance to speak with most of them since they stepped on campus. TSD caught up with five members of the Class of 2013 set to have big seasons in 2014.


DT Christian Lacouture

The former four-star prospect enrolled last spring and parlayed that into some early playing time as a freshman. He factored into the rotation behind Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson, and though he didn't produce eye-popping numbers — 11 tackles and one sack — he gained a lot from that experience.

"You have to learn quick," LaCouture said. "Spring ball was something that really helped me out, knowing the plays, the pace of the game, so by fall ball I was rolling. If you want to be out there, you can't make many mistakes. You can't play timid either. You have to go balls to the wall and know what you're doing."

LaCouture is far from content though. He remains motivated to continue improving in all facets of his game.

"I want to focus on everything," LaCouture said. "You can always get better at everything…Everything you do, you have to make sure you're improving everyday because you can't take one step forward and one step back. You never stay the same."

LaCouture said he added about 10 pounds from his playing weight as a freshman. He now measures 6-foot-5, 304 pounds.

"I'm trying to stay right around there," LaCouture said. "I had to get a little bit bigger than last year. I was playing around 295. That was something I wanted to improve on this spring and summer heading into Wisconsin."

He also had positive things to say about his fellow 2013 defensive tackles, Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore.

"Those are my buddies," LaCouture said. "They're like family to me. Especially last year, we really grew together. I was trying to help them, and I'm doing the same thing this year, because they're going to have to play. They're great kids on and off the field. They work their tails off, and everyone's improving."

Anthony Jennings is embracing his leadership role

QB Anthony Jennings

Jennings introduced himself to the LSU fan base with that 99-yard game-winning touchdown drive against Arkansas. That's obviously led to high expectations, but Jennings said he's improved greatly in his first year on campus.

"I'm a lot more confident," Jennings said. "I've been in this system for a year. I feel comfortable with the plays we're running and in that leadership role. I'm not quite as big a leader like Kenny Hilliard and La'El Collins, but I'm trying to increase my IQ and get better."

Jennings will admit he was a "little shaky" last year in the huddle, a bit timid and not extremely confident in making the calls. That's changed though, and Jennings said he's speaking up a lot more to be that vocal leader.

He also spends as much time with Cam Cameron as he can, picking his brain, trying to improve his game.

"I come up here pretty much six days a week so I can talk with him and see what he knows," Jennings said. "I'm just trying to get as much in my arsenal so I can play quarterback at a high level…I just want to become smarter in the game. I just need to know what I can do to get better, so I can be better than I was before."

As for what Jennings thinks he can improve on…

"I can extend plays with my legs, so I'm not worried about that," Jennings said. "I just need to get more accurate, doing the reads, learning the defenses so I know where to throw the ball. I know I can throw the ball with the best of them, so now it's just about showing it."

MLB Kendell Beckwith

Beckwith spent his first season at LSU on the defensive line, but he has since moved back to the linebacker position, which he said feels like home.

"I started off at linebacker when I first came in," Beckwith said. "I can play defensive end because I played that my entire high school career. They wanted to try me there because they knew I could rush off the edge. We gave it a shot, but linebacker is just what I really wanted to play. They didn't have a problem with it."

Beckwith's move is part of a big shakeup at linebacker as John Chavis looks to find the best combination. Beckwith said he's ready to make a big impact in the middle of that defense.

"I'm real confident. I'm very comfortable there. I think I'm more of a linebacker than a defensive end. I can do both, but I feel way more comfortable at linebacker."

John Diarse is one of LSU's top receivers this spring

WR John Diarse

Diarse had high expectations for his freshman season. He wanted to compete for playing time as LSU's third receiver or at the very least have an impact on special teams. But Diarse severely rolled his ankle two weeks before the start of the season during one-on-one drills.

That setback cost him his freshman year, as the coaches decided to redshirt him while he recuperated from that ankle injury.

"After that I got lost in the shuffle trying to recover during the season," Diarse said. "They came to me and asked if I wanted to redshirt. I decided to take it and it's probably the best decision I've made in my life."

Diarse said that redshirt allowed him to get ahead in classwork and gain a better understanding of the offensive system. Now he's back to full strength and working as LSU's No. 2 wide receiver opposite Travin Dural.

"I'm off to a good start," Diarse said. "I'm glad I came in last spring because I already have a feel for it. Now I can just let my athleticism take over."

CB Tre'Davious White

White came in knowing he had big shoes to fill. Not only is he related to Morris Claiborne, but the two are nearly identical in appearance. It's safe to say though that White definitely left his mark during his first year on campus.

"It was a big deal," White said. "Being Morris Claiborne's godbrother, everybody expected me to be like him. But I came in and just tried play my game and be me. I tried to be the best player I could be."

White's certainly ready to see what 2014 has in store for him. He's added 12 pounds of muscle since he arrived last summer and now weighs 185 pounds.

"They wanted to add weight because they said the SEC is a man's game," White said. "I talked to the strength coach, and I said ‘Put some weight on me, but I just want to keep my speed.' That was the biggest thing for me."

White said he hasn't lost a step and all the experience he gained as a freshman was just a starting point.

"It'll pay dividends this season," White said. "You'll see it pay off. I have that year under my belt, more experience. The game has slowed down more to me."

With Jalen Mills now at safety, White is working as LSU's No. 1 cornerback. White's still working hard to prove he's worthy of filling that role though. He's also eager to see how he and fellow rising sophomore Rashard Robinson hold down the corner spots.

"With me and Rashard coming with a year under our belt, we're smarter players. We're players the coaches can lean on more. They can do many things because we're able to hold our own more than last year. The coaches are more confident in us and can run more blitzes because we can hold our own on the outside."


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