Toliver's New Look

After playing through two seasons in the shadows at wide receiver, Terrance Toliver is ready to emerge as one of the Southeastern Conference's premier targets.

The nation’s No. 1 ranked wide receiver coming out of high school in 2007, Terrance Toliver had plenty of weight on his shoulders when he signed on with LSU.

Sitting behind a number of big names during his true freshman season, he managed to see action in all 14 games with two starts – where he caught 10 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns.

Last fall, the Lone Star State standout played the third man behind Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd - where he totaled 22 catches for 257 yards and one touchdown.

A 2007 Freshman All-SEC selection, Toliver seemed sluggish to some with his improvement during his sophomore campaign. With inconsistent play at quarterback, the Hempstead-native simply did not have the breakthrough season that most expected.

This fall, expect all that to change.

“Now that Byrd is gone, I have stepped into the number two role,” Toliver said. “I think I am doing pretty good. I have been getting lots of balls and making lots of plays. With more responsibility comes more productivity. I work to make plays every day, every game and every practice.”

Toliver showed signs of becoming more productive last season when the Tigers were lacking a reliable threat opposite of LaFell. Byrd suffered through an up and down year – which allowed Toliver to see the ball more consistently.

Over the final five games of the season, Toliver registered 16 of his 22 receptions and accounted for 156 of his 227 yards, with his lone touchdown of the year coming during that span. Byrd, on the other hand, caught only 13 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown over the final five contests. That gave fans a glimpse into what LaFell sees as a bright future.

“Terrance came on last year and started to show that he’s going to be a very good receiver,” said LaFell. “He took what happened late last year and used it as motivation for this spring and summer. He’s worked hard to get to where he is now and you can tell a big difference with him.”

Thanks to LSU strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt, Toliver’s physical appearance is better than ever. Up to 208 pounds, the six-foot-five receiver said that he has finally grown into his frame.

“I used to get depressed about getting bigger, and I did not feel like I could bulk up,” Toliver said. “Now, I get lots of protein and work harder in the weight room. I worked out hard this summer, and coach Moffitt gave us what we needed to get better. He gave me my max I needed to get to, and I just ate a lot.”

“I was always physical, never weak on the field or anything,” he added. “I was just weak in the weight room. I have lots of confidence now. I don’t want to get pushed around out there.”

Head coach Les Miles clearly noticed the increased confidence.

“Coach appointed me to the Unity Council,” Toliver said. “I have to be a leader now, especially to help the younger guys.”

Freshman Rueben Randle – who was also tabbed as the nation’s top receiver out of high school – attracted Toliver’s attention from the start.

“I have taken [Randle] under my wing,” he said. “I am his mentor, and I am helping him a lot. I have seen improvement from him, and I expect big things.”

As for thoughts on quarterback Jordan Jefferson, Toliver preached about the benefits of having a dual-threat under center.

“When he scrambles right, we roll out right; someone comes up, we go deep,” he said. “I love it, especially when I know [Jefferson] can throw and run. It is a plus.”

When it comes to personal expectations, an outgoing Toliver becomes as reserved as you will find him.

“I just want to make plays,” he said. “I can’t sit here and tell you I want to catch 50 balls. I have a personal expectation of making plays that can help the team win.”

Yet, when the touchdowns do come, don’t expect the junior to hold back on letting his emotions show.

“Fans are going to see it this year,” Toliver said jokingly. “I am kind of a clown. When I catch my touchdown, I do my Michael Crabtree-thing. I just like having fun out there.”

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