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).
Today the countdown hits a veteran punter at No. 31, Aussie Jamie Keehn.
REASON FOR OPTIMISM
Like long snapper Reid Ferguson (No. 48) and kicker Colby Delahoussaye (No. 45) before him on this countdown, Keehn is an experienced member of LSU special teams. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior from Australia has been through the fire in Baton Rouge, enduring some bad but mostly good during his two years-plus run as the program’s starting punter, following in the footsteps of another from down under, Brad Wing.
Even more encouraging than the experience is the fact Keehn has continued to improve every season at LSU. In 2012, in spot duty filling in for the oft-suspended Wing, he averaged 43.7 yards/punt on just 12 attempts. His average in 2013 was 41.0 yards/punt, but he fired off 43 attempts and landed 18 of them inside the 20 with a long of 58 yards. Last fall Keehn authored 71 punts, averaging 44.9 yards/punt with 27 landing inside the 20 and a long of 64 yards.
In a number of ways Keehn seems headed toward his best season yet and figures to wind up on plenty of All-SEC teams.
STILL LEFT TO PROVE
Despite all the success in averages and balls downed inside the 20, Keehn has displayed an odd penchant for tossing in shanks at inopportune times. While he did less of that in his junior campaign, LSU fans saw it several times over in the second halves of close ballgames in 2013. He’ll have to continue to iron out those kinks as a senior in Baton Rouge.
Also, as unfair as it may be, there’s a relative ceiling on how highly a special teams player can be rated within the confines of this type of list. Take last fall for example, which was actually a punter’s dream given how often the purple and gold were forced to punt. Even during a punt-heavy season, Keehn managed just 71 punts over the course of 13 games. So even when he’s punting “a lot,” Keehn’s putting toe to leather less than 5.5 times a game.