Many are seasoned veterans and a select few are new to the roster, but all 50 Tigers figure to make an impact on the gridiron in 2015.
So enjoy this list, updated once each weekday and compiled by the TSD staff of Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua (who, naturally, had disagreements of their own along the way).
The countdown begins at No. 50 with freshman offensive lineman Maea Teuhema.
REASON FOR OPTIMISM
What’s not to love about the upside of Scout’s top overall offensive guard prospect in the country for the 2015 class? Teuhema, listed by LSU as 6-foot-4 and 323 pounds (some 23 pounds lighter than his listed weight on Scout), brings a rather large-sized mean streak to the Tigers’ offensive line, under the direction of second-year position coach Jeff Grimes.
Teuhema also happens to play a position where LSU is experimenting in the starting lineup and not yet locked in for this season. While either William Clapp or Ethan Pocic is expected to be the starter at one guard position, the other guard spot (most likely right guard) is more up in the air, at spring’s end paced by Josh Boutte but with K.J. Malone squarely in the mix. If neither steps up consistently and/or inevitable injury strikes, Teuhema could be the beneficiary, logging rare O-Line playing time in year one.
His strengths also line up extremely well with what Grimes and Les Miles want to do – run the football. Teuhema is built at least a little like LSU senior Vadal Alexander and, whenever his time comes to take over on the interior of the line, he’ll be expected to produce similar results as a road-grating, pancake-blocking machine.
STILL LEFT TO PROVE
The biggest deterrent for Teuhema, and the reason he almost got left off this list, is that he plays arguably the toughest position on the field to step in and contribute significantly in year one (defensive tackle is awfully close). It’s just rare that an offensive lineman can do that at a place like LSU that adequately recruits to its two-deep up front. The recent exceptions to that rule would be players like Vadal Alexander and Ethan Pocic, although Alexander played a lot more as a true freshman than Pocic.
Teuhema, whose brother Sione returns as a sophomore defensive end at LSU, will also have to pick up technique and adjust to a leaner body type strength coach Tommy Moffitt will do his best to create this summer. It’ll be a much different ballgame than what Teuhema was used to in Keller, Tex., where his sheer size and frame created insurmountable mismatches on many occasions.
Then there’s the communication and ability to pull. The former will likely be harder to assimilate for the newbie lineman, from verbiage to checks at the line to consistently talking and not getting overwhelmed. But the latter is still paramount, especially given how much Miles loves to pull his guards. Teuhema, who didn’t have the benefit of coming in as an early enrollee, will have to tackle the learning curve before he can do anything else in purple and gold.