Scouting the SEC: LSU

A heart breaking loss in the final seconds of the season's last game cost the Tigers a repeat trip to the SEC Championship contest in '02. Fear not, as LSU brings back its best talent and will improve after not putting a player in the first day of last April's draft.

LSU has a pair of tremendous underclassmen prospects on offense. Michael Clayton is a big-bodied, game-controlling receiver that makes the tough catch during the game's important moments. Possessing soft, natural hands, Clayton out-muscles defenders for the ball then takes off running after the catch, breaking tackles and picking up positive yardage. Though not fast or a downfield threat, Clayton commands the attention of defenses and will be a top 30 pick when he eventually enters the draft.

Likewise Ben Wilkerson is a dominant player on the pivot and a center with the versatility to play in several blocking schemes. Wilkerson is explosive, quick, and a blocker that holds the point or gets to the second level and finishes off defenders. It is rare that an underclassman causes a stir at center, but Wilkerson would do that if he leaves LSU for next April's affair.

Senior Stephan Peterman is an efficient blocker that dominates in a small area but lacks overall blocking range.

Tackle Rodney Reed plays with great intellect and fundamentals. Reed projects to guard and will not "wow" anyone with athletic workouts but has the skills and savvy to make a two-deep at the next level.

Matt Mauck has the arm and athletic ability to be an NFL quarterback but must stay healthy and needs a lot of repetition.

Tight end Eric Edwards plays well enough that someone will sign him after the draft while Andrew Whitworth is a very good tackle prospect for the future.

As with the scoring side of the ball, LSU has two very good underclassmen prospects on defense. Marquise Hill does not get the credit he deserves but is an outstanding defensive end that more than holds his own on the left side and besides rushing the passer, excels stopping the run. Hill has the potential to play in a two-gap system at left defensive end.

Marcus Spears offers better speed, explosion, and pass rushing abilities on the other side. Spears terrorizes opponents in the backfield but is not nearly as effective against the run compared to his teammate.

Tackle Chad Lavalais has great first step quickness on the inside but is not a wide-bodied space eater and gets controlled in one-on-one blocking situations.

Corner Corey Webster runs well and flashes on the scene but his cover instincts border on inadequate.

Lionel Turner gives good effort at linebacker and is a backup/special teams type.

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