Summer Top 50 - No. 8 Ethan Pocic

LSU's most versatile offensive lineman comes in at No. 8 in TSD's top 50 countdown of Tiger players for the 2015 season.

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).

Today the countdown rolls on to one of the team's top linemen on either side of the ball, junior blocker Ethan Pocic.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM


I genuinely don't know in the time I've covered LSU football that there's been an offensive lineman who literally could play any of the five positions and the team not miss a beat. That is the case with Pocic, who ended spring practice at left guard but has started at center and right guard in his LSU career and at 6-foot-7 is more than capable of playing either tackle spot (where most people assume his NFL future rests).

The Illinois native in two years in Baton Rouge, without taking a redshirt, has played in 18 games, starting 13 times. He logged a total of 743 snaps in 2014, not missing a single one in the final five contests of the campaign, and totaled 72.5 knockdown blocks (third on team). So experience is a major feather in the junior's cap as well heading into this fall.

Then there's the leadership factor. He isn't always the most vocal player, but Pocic is one others follow. And his willingness to pitch in wherever he's needed isn't lost on his teammates. In fact it's going to end up allowing one of his younger teammates to grab a starting spot. Because Pocic can play so many positions, he'll slide over to accommodate whichever youngster has the hot hand, be it Josh Boutte, K.J. Malone or someone else. As offensive linemen go, Pocic is pretty darn close to the total package.

STILL LEFT TO PROVE


He's checked a lot of the boxes an offensive line coach would have for his players, but Pocic can still stand to improve in a few areas. If he does indeed stick at left guard, it would be the first time Pocic has started out there during the regular season. Typically Les Miles likes to run behind the left side more often than the right, so Pocic will have to continue to make strides pushing defenders back from a new side.

The 301-pounder can also become a more effective communicator, something that's more or less going to be forced on him now that two elder statesmen from last fall are gone - left tackle La'el Collins and center Elliott Porter, who was responsible for many of the checks. Especially if redshirt freshman William Clapp earns the starting nod at center, he'll rely on a veteran next to him in Pocic for assistance.





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