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 reaches its second-to-last player with a veteran corner quite comfortable on his own island, junior Tre'Davious White.
When you're under 6-foot tall and have still accumulated a nickname like "Shaq," you know you're a pretty special athlete. That is and has been the case for White for quite some time. One of the top corners in the country in the 2013 recruiting cycle, White also excelled as a quarterback for Green Oaks HS in Shreveport and was a standout basketball player to boot. He enjoyed a close connection during his prep days with former Tiger Morris Claiborne, also from the northwest part of Louisiana.
2013: 55 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 INT, 7 PBU
- It didn't take long for then-new position coach Corey Raymond to figure out White belonged in the starting lineup as a true freshman. Three games into his debut season "Shaq" took the reins and hasn't let go since. He started 11 games as a first-year player, earning Freshman All-SEC honors and ending up on at least one Freshman All-America team. White led LSU in pass breakups with seven and helped secure a win at Mississippi State with an interception.
2014: 33 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT, 6 PBU
- A starter in all 13 games, White was the constant at cornerback while the spot opposite him shifted from Rashard Robinson to Jalen Collins in-season. He continued to display solid tackling skills, authoring 23 unassisted stops. White's coverage game was on point, too, leading an LSU secondary which conceded an SEC-low 10 passing touchdowns. He tacked on duties as the team's punt returner as well as a sophomore, gaining 273 yards on 25 returns, including a 67-yard touchdown versus Kentucky.
LSU's secondary figures to be stout this fall, and White is arguably the biggest reason why. Our pick for No. 3 on this countdown, safety Jamal Adams, has an incredible future ahead of him, but at this point he lacks the experience and two-phase versatility that White provides. While another new face will start opposite White (likely Edward Paris), the Shreveport native remains the constant that keeps the Tigers' secondary feared through the air.
White in September 2014
Expect White to start and stay on an island, even under new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. He's made the transition from young buck crashing the rotation to the old head on the block at corner, in more of a mentor's space with up-and-comers like Paris, Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson.
He's also a solid bet to reprise his role of punt returner, one White improved at as the season progressed, namely by not fielding every single ball that flew or bounced toward him. White is unquestionably one of the top athletes on LSU's roster and, even at an inch or three shorter than the ideal corner, is poised to make a push toward the NFL Draft in this his third campaign in Baton Rouge.
White is not the most physically daunting Tiger at 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds, but he does just about everything you would ask a cornerback to do - man coverage, jam at the line of scrimmage, stick a shoulder in there and tackle. He's the trustworthy bedrock that allows other secondary members, from Jalen Mills to Jamal Adams to Dwayne Thomas, to freelance at times and take chances in the box while he takes away the offense's top receiver.
Add onto that his prowess with the ball in his hands as a punt returner, and White is incredibly valuable to LSU. Freshman Donte Jackson (No. 27 on this list) will one day step into either or both of White's roles, but until that day comes, Shaq is the top dog at DBU ... and TSD's top-rated defender on LSU's roster.