Summer Top 50 - No. 34 D.J. Chark

One of the surprise performers from spring camp comes in at No. 34 in the person of receiver D.J. Chark. Despite talented depth around him, can Chark carve out time with his speed?

Because everyone loves to rank things, and because summer is the best time to argue and debate, TSD is spending the coming weeks through the end of July rolling out its top 50 LSU football players for the coming season.

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 continues at No. 34 with receiver D.J. Chark, a player who upped his stock in a major way this spring.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM


Chark seems to be making the climb from somewhat unheralded recruit to a speedster with size LSU can’t afford to keep off the field. Entering his sophomore season the Alexandria native made quite a statement this spring, authoring one multi-touchdown performance in a scrimmage and hauling in a deep ball in the annual spring game.

At 6-foot-2 and 184 pounds Chark has more height than the Tigers’ average burner at wide-out. This makes him an interesting utility receiver for new position coach Tony Ball in that Ball can line Chark up in the slot (where this spring he was the apprentice to Travin Dural on jet sweeps) and also out wide. Chark’s versatility will help him amid playing time competition with players like John Diarse – has the size, lacks Chark’s speed – and freshman Tyron Johnson – has the speed, lacks Chark’s height.

He’s also a prime candidate to return kicks for the Bayou Bengals, an area where Chark excelled during his time at Alexandria High School. An emerging receiving target that can one day replace Dural and can immediately make an impact in the return game, Chark is an intriguing player heading into this fall.

STILL LEFT TO PROVE


This spring did go exceedingly well for Chark, but he’ll have to carry that over to Fall Camp and continue to prove himself in a receiving corps growing by three members – freshmen Tyron Johnson, Derrick Dillon and Jazz Ferguson – over the summer.

He’s also lacking in experience for the most part, having played in only six games a season ago with no starts. Chark did play in three SEC games early in the 2014 campaign (Mississippi State, Auburn and Kentucky), but almost all of his time was spent on kick-coverage duty and two of the games were blowouts, albeit in different directions for the Tigers.

More than anything else, though, it’s the competition that Chark will have to overcome. Dural and Malachi Dupre are pretty entrenched as returning starters while Diarse is an experienced producer entering his third season. Then there’s sophomore Trey Quinn, a regular starter to begin last fall, and the slew of freshmen. Chark, a former three-star prospect, wasn’t as sexy a name as any of these guys coming in, but he has an opportunity to supplant some of them on the depth chart if he can replicate this spring when things heat up in August.



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