One of the best parts of spring practice is getting to talk to last season’s true freshmen.
Outside of Media Day and rare postgame appearances, first-year players are mostly off-limits to the media. That changes once spring rolls around, and we get a chance to catch up with them on how their careers have gone so far and what’s in store for year two.
So here are some tidbits from members of LSU’s 2014 signing class after they met with the media for the first time:
Godchaux had perhaps the most surprising campaign of any freshman in 2014. After sitting out nearly his entire senior season with a torn ACL, Godchaux emerged as a starter through most of last season. His impact on the defensive line could be seen as LSU went from dreadful at stopping the run to the No. 1 defense in the SEC.
So how did Godchaux find so much success in his first year?
“Focus,” he said. “That’s about it. Getting in that playbook and listening to the things Coach Brick was talking about…It was a great experience, getting out there with all the NFL-capable guys. It was really great getting to play in Tiger Stadium my freshman year.”
But Godchaux came dangerously close to never suiting up in purple and gold at all. He nearly flipped his commitment on National Signing Day to Ole Miss, but did eventually decide to stick with the Tigers.
He’s pleased with that decision.
“No doubt,” Godchaux said. “I started as a freshman, and even if I didn’t, I’m still close to home. I can just drive home any time I feel like. I’m happy I chose LSU.”
Brumfield has been one of the biggest standouts through the first week of spring. He’s taken first-team reps at right guard in each practice and is positioned well to start as a redshirt freshman.
But Brumfield at first wasn’t thrilled with the idea of redshirting.
“Going into it, redshirting is never the happiest thing for anybody, but it ended up being a good thing,” Brumfield said. “[It benefitted me] a whole bunch, probably too much to measure. Being able to redshirt and get in the weight room, getting stronger and faster, then take it out on the field in practice everyday.”
Brumfield spent most of 2014 on the scout team, but now he’s running with the ones and that’s taken some adjustments.
“I’m really getting accustomed to it, especially the speed,” he said. “Everybody’s out there flying around. I’m really getting accustomed to it, and it’s going to be a good year.”
Clapp came really close to burning his redshirt last season — much to the dismay of his offensive line coach.
Clapp was the second-team tight end on field goals in 2014. The guy ahead of him — Logan Stokes — went down with an injury against Sam Houston State, so Clapp ran on the field to take his place on the line.
“At that point, I didn’t really know what was going on,” Clapp said. “Apparently Coach Grimes was screaming for me to come back. But I was just so pumped to be going in the game.”
Clapp came back to the sideline and redshirted for his freshman season.
Now he’s sharing time with K.J. Malone as the first-team left guard and is also getting reps at center. He’s hoping that the next time he takes the field in Tiger Stadium isn’t an accident.
“I definitely want to start, that’s been a goal since I got here,” he said. “I just have to continue working hard. If I do that, I’ll be in the spot I want to be.”
Quinn was one of the most productive wide receivers in the history of high school football. But he struggled to stay on the field as a true freshman, eventually losing his job in the slot to John Diarse.
Moving inside was a big transition for him.
“Once you get that first hit against a backer that’s probably going to go first-round, you really realize how important the weight room is,” Quinn said. “There’s a lot of learning to do from high school to college. Quickness and strength is the main point, along with catching the ball consistently as a receiver.”
His hands became a concern after a pair of drops against Alabama cost him his spot on the field. That’s one of several things he’s working to improve heading in to his sophomore season.
“I’ve been trying to get a lot bigger, consistent hands and getting in and out of breaks as quick as possible,” Quinn said. “Me playing the role of a slot receiver, sometimes I have to block some backers and defensive ends that are dropping. That could be difficult at times.”
Upchurch came to LSU as a four-star wide receiver, but he’s now made the move to fullback. The depth chart at receiver is pretty clogged, but it’s wide open and fullback, and that’s something Upchurch embraces.
“Anyway to get on the field,” he said. “Fullback is a good position for me. I like it so far. I really like the contact too.”
Upchurch said the move was also made because of his weight. He played last season at about 230 pounds and admitted to struggling at dropping it. So now he’s molding himself into a fullback and believes he’s adjusting well to the transition.
“I’m willing to learn anything new and go full force,” Upchurch said. “Learning the defensive schemes, knowing the gaps and my steps. I’ll be fine if I learn my techniques. Coach Frank tells us different blocking techniques. I just take heed of everything, and we’ll be good.”
Voorhies has also moved to a new position. He spent his freshman year at strong safety, but now he’s working at WILL linebacker.
What’s the biggest change for him?
“Being that close to the box. Linemen get up there a lot quicker and get their hands on you. I’ve got to learn to get them off me…I’ve got to learn the techniques and how to read the right gaps, but other than that it’s going really well.”
LSU could potentially lose both of its starting outside linebackers — seniors Lamar Louis and Deion Jones — after this season. So might outside linebacker provide Voorhies with a quicker route to the field?
“I think and I hope so,” Voorhies said. “When they leave, there’s no one else that knows system, so I think that’s why I came down.”
Catching up with LSU's 2014 class
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