The senior proved to be Matt Flynn's favorite target grabbing nine passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
"You've got Early Doucet who's right there in the same caliber as (Bowe and Davis)," offensive coordinator Gary Crowton said.
What Doucet lacks in size (6-0, 207) he makes up with speed, tremendous leaping ability and reliable hands.
Doucet caught 59 passes for 772
yards in 2006 and will be counted on heavily to make up for the loss of Bowe and
"He's somebody you're gonna count on to make the plays, move the chains and come up with the big plays to get us touchdowns," Crowton said.
After Doucet, the LSU receivers are an unproven and untested crew, but full of potential.
Doucet, a senior, said he is ready to step-up and help a receiving corps that includes eight underclassmen.
"I am looking forward to being more of a leader this year," Doucet said after the spring game. "Now that we have a lot of young guys it is time for me to step in that big brother role. I am taking on the challenge and it has gone well so far. I have to make sure they work hard every day and stay focused."
Headlining the young group is sophomore Brandon LaFell. Unlike Doucet, LaFell is a big target at 6-3 and 194 pounds.
LaFell showed flashes of brilliance in 2006 with two 58-yard touchdown scores, the second coming against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. But injuries and depth at wideout kept him sidelined for a majority of the year.
LaFell will be the No. 2 receiver and his deadly combination of size and speed could cause major headaches for opposing defensive backs.
Speaking of headaches, sophomore Trindon Holliday will be responsible for many sleepless nights for defensive coordinators around the country.
The 5-foot-5-inch Holliday, who
played running back at Zachary's
Holliday does not have a true position, but just having him on the field will cause defenses to change their approach.
Holliday should thrive in Crowton's
new spread offense with short routes and screen passes. On top of it all,
though, Crowton and LSU are just lucky to have Holliday, who turned down a
chance to run for the
Other players looking to see some action in 2007 are sophomores Jared and Chris Mitchell (no relation), Ricky Dixon and newcomers Demetrius Byrd, DeAngelo Benton and five-star gem of the offensive recruiting class, Terrance Tolliver.
Crowton said the starting receiver spots, much like passes, are up for grabs.
"Just whoever can step-up," Crowton said. "It's gonna be open in fall camp."
In the tight end department, Crowton said he would like to reinvent the position at LSU. And 6-3, 237-pound sophomore Richard Dickson is the man for the job.
"Dickson is very fast," Crowton said. "He's gonna be a guy we use more this year than last. It'll be a little more versatile positions than it's been in the last couple of years," Crowton said.
Dickson caught just six passes for 96 yards in 2006, but was used sparingly and was only thrown to in five games.
Senior Keith Zinger is the most experienced tight end on the roster, but Crowton said he will be used more as a blocker this season. And at 6-4, 250-pounds, Zinger, who missed most of last season due to illness, provides a big target on play-action passes.
- Keith Claverie
2007 Wide Receivers
1 Brandon LaFell WR 6-3 194 So. 1L
2 Demetrius Byrd WR 6-2 195 Jr. TR
8 Trindon Holliday WR 5-5 159 So. 1L
9 Early Doucet WR 6-0 207 Sr.
10 Ricky Dixon WR 6-2 216 Fr. RS LaPlace,
14 Ron Brooks WR 5-11 180 Fr. HS Irving,
23 Josh McManus WR 5-11 195 Sr. 1L
80 Terrance Toliver WR 6-5 180 Fr. HS
86 Chris Mitchell WR 6-0 176 So. 1L
87 Jared Mitchell WR 5-11 192 So. 1L
2007 Tight End
41 Jordan Corbin TE 6-4 240 Fr. HS
46 J.D. Lott TE 6-4 232 Fr. RS Hoover,
81 Mit Cole TE 6-4 258 Sr. 3L Picayune,
82 Richard Dickson TE 6-3 237 So. 1L
83 Mitch Joseph TE 6-5 243 Fr. HS New Iberia, La. (Catholic-New Iberia HS)
85 Alex Russian TE 6-4 230 Fr. HS Round
89 Keith Zinger TE 6-4 250 Sr. 3L
INSIDE THE HUDDLE
Returning Starters: WR Early Doucet, TE Richard Dickson, TE Mit Cole
Departed Starters: WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Craig Davis
Projected New Starters: WR Brandon LaFell
Best Player: Doucet was second on the team a year ago with 772 yards on 59 catches with eight touchdowns. He averaged 59.4 yards per game and 13.1 yards per catch. After both Bowe and Davis were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft in April, experts began talking up Doucet as possibly a top five pick and the top receiver taken in next spring's draft.
Wildcard: WR Jared Mitchell was a
highly-touted prep wideout from
Rising Star: LaFell was plagued by injuries most of last season. After opening the season with a bang, catching a 58-yard touchdown versus ULL for LSU's first TD of the season, LaFell was pretty quiet most of the season. It wasn't until he closed out the season in identical fashion catching a 58-yard bomb from JaMarcus Russell in the Sugar Bowl did people realize who will likely be the heir-apparent to Bowe.
Most Improved: TE Keith Zinger was slated as LSU's starting tight end headed into last season. However, a digestive condition kept Zinger out of the lineup most of last season. During that time, Zinger shed a large amount of weight. He returned in the spring, though, and is showing signs of his old self.
Top Newcomer: Incoming freshman WR
Terrance Toliver was touted as the nation's top prep receiver in 2006 by
Scout.com. While there were some questions about his academics over the summer,
Top NFL Prospect: Considering Doucet is a projected as a possible top five pick, this one's a no-brainer.
Extra Points: Both Doucet and Tolliver were rated the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the country coming out of high school… Doucet, Jared Mitchell, Chris Mitchell and Ricky Dixon all played quarterback in high school.
TIGER RAG LAGNIAPPE
Holliday was relatively
unknown coming out of Zachary's