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 we hope you 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 lands on a defensive veteran at No. 43, linebacker Ronnie Feist.
REASON FOR OPTIMISM
First off Feist (6-1, 224) has been around the program for some time. He entered in the same 2012 linebacker-heavy class for LSU alongside 2015 starters Deion Jones and Lamar Louis (as well as Tampa Bay Buc Kwon Alexander and a few transfers in Trey Granier and Lorenzo Phillips). So he’s had plenty of practice reps and more or less knows the lay of the land in Baton Rouge, even if he hasn’t starred too much on Saturdays.
He’s also been a consummate team player for the Tigers. After playing in five games as a true freshman in 2012, Feist kicked down to defensive end in 2013 to shore up depth after the loss of KeKe Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Lavar Edwards to the NFL Draft. He never ended up playing in a game that fall, however, taking an unconventional year-two redshirt.
Feist also keeps onlookers wanting for more with his spring game performances. He memorably notched 14 first-half tackles in the 2014 spring game and followed it up with plenty more stops in April 2015. In those instances Feist is typically facing the first-team offense, so there’s at least some indication he can be counted on to stop a run-heavy attack now that he’s back to being a full-time outside linebacker.
STILL LEFT TO PROVE
More and more under Les Miles, LSU has become a tough place to come into when you don’t play – or play much – in year one. There are a number of players every season that factor in as true freshmen, so when a player doesn’t, it can be easy sometimes to write them off as difference makers in their careers in TigerTown. Going on year four, that’s still a concern for Feist.
In the two seasons in which he’s featured in games – 2012 as a true freshman and 2014 as a redshirt sophomore, Feist has played in a combined nine of 26 ballgames, never starting, and has seven total tackles and a fumble recovery to his name. Of those nine games Feist participated in, only two of them were SEC tilts (ironically both games were at Florida, two years apart).
So there’s a lot of unknown when it comes to Feist, despite the stellar performances in the spring games, which of course always feature vanilla, run-heavy play calling. He’ll also have to overcome some pretty formidable depth to get on the field for gobs of time in 2015. The Tigers appear set with Jones and Louis at outside linebacker, and Feist falls somewhere in line after that amongst the likes of junior Duke Riley and sophomore Donnie Alexander.